Wednesday, November 28, 2007

10 ways to better utilize office hours

This is one of the funniest things I've ever read in the IUS student newspaper...

Interestingly, the piece opens with a warning. I'm not sure whether it's intended as a funny pseudo-warning or a satire on such warnings (or both).

Editor’s Note: “10 Ways to…” is a humor piece. If you don’t get it, ignore it.

1. Pretend your professor’s office is a lending library. Browse his books. Take a few down, flip through them, place them on any horizontal surface but don’t – don’t – place them back where you got them from just in case you forget where you pulled them out and screw up the cataloging system. When you find one you like, say, “Hey, can I borrow this?” He’ll approve, thinking you are truly interested in the same crap he is. Return the book only after repeated threats to your grade or life.

2. Use your professors as personal psychotherapists. Sure, only a few professors on campus actually have training in psychotherapy, but professors know everything, right? Right. So, unload on them any chance you get. They’ll understand. Why do you think most of them have Kleenex handy?

3. Play chess. All professors play chess. Just ask. They’ll pull out a chess set. It’s like going to a restaurant and asking for playing cards – they all have them. Oh, and they all try to do something called “castling.” Don’t allow it – it’s bullshit.

4. Take a nap. Most professors have someplace they sleep when someone isn’t banging on their doors: couches, bean bag chairs, cots, sleeping bags, whatever. It may not be as comfortable as the library, but it will be more private. Ask your professor about something you could care less about, and you’ll be catching some major Z’s in seconds.

5. Use the telephone. Does your significant other use caller ID to screen your calls? Well, they’ll pick up when the readout says, “IU Southeast.” Another professor avoiding you? Calls made from a campus phone to another campus phone have a different ring – one long ring as opposed to two short rings. The other professor will pick up. You can’t make long-distance calls, but you can use something called SUVON to call others in Indiana. Ask about it.

6. Drink some hooch.

7. Have a totally asinine argument. Find out what your professor cares passionately about: liberal politics, saving the environment, third-world countries, smoking, the Grateful Dead, Sylvia Plath, whatever. Take an opposing point of view and make ridiculous statements, like, “I think Rudy Guiliani will make an excellent president, especially if he picks Mitt Romney as his running mate.” When your professor starts to make a counter argument, roll your eyes or make “blah, blah, blah” gestures with your hand.

8. Sing on the top of your lungs. This may only apply to adjunct professors during their office hours. They seem to like jazz, crappy ’70s drug bands and something that sounds like a deer that got his testicles caught in a wood chipper. That may be the professor singing – I’m not sure.

9. Try to get the test answers out of the professor. Keep asking for hints. These are good questions to ask: “Do I need to know this?” “Is this on the test?” “What should I concentrate on when studying?” “Do you have a study sheet?” “Will you provide a word list? What will be on the word list?” “Is anything from the book on the test?” “Can I see the test?” This is the office hours equivalent of waterboarding. You’ll get answers, eventually.

10. Kill time. Have an hour before your next class? Drop by your professor’s office. Hang.


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