The Advice Nerd

Greetings, my name is John Harrison, online editor of The Skyline View, and I’m here to help! Too bad nobody out there in the busy world of college life seems to want any, because I haven’t received one single e-mail since my last column, which makes your Advice Nerd a very sad fellow. Until you folks in reader-land decide to send me legitimate issues, I’m going to have to continue pulling things off the top of my head. You want advice about something interesting? Send me a question.

For now, I’ll bore you all with an in-depth description of how to do well in a class at Skyline:

Read things

You know that expensive book you bought at the beginning of your class? Yeah, it’s there for a reason. You paid for it, why not read the bloody thing? After all, there are some books out there that are actually good. Textbook prices are ridiculous, so make the purchase worth your and your instructor’s while. If you read the book, you might participate. If you participate, you might understand the class. If you understand the class, you’ll probably do well on quizzes and tests and shock your instructor into giving you a better grade. If you read ahead, think of the wonderful things you can accomplish. Who knew that doing well in class was so easy?

Be there

A huge part of doing well in any class comes from actually showing up. Doing class work, although a necessary part of class, is almost secondary to just being there. It doesn’t matter if you read the textbook if you don’t make the commitment to drag yourself through the door regularly. If you can show up, do at least a minimal amount of work and do decently on tests, you’ll probably be fine. I recommend doing your best in classes, considering they’re designed to help educate you, but if you’re finding yourself in a stressful situation where you just can’t put in your all, showing up and doing at least a minimal amount of work could get you a better grade than the “F” or “W” that lurks around the corner.

Pay attention

Sitting there in class with a blank look on your face isn’t going to convey to your instructor that you understand what’s going on. Pretending you’re a zombie probably doesn’t help when Mr. What’s-his-name opens that brown book with your grade written in pencil. His eraser is probably twitching even as I write this. Go out there, and pay attention in class. Your instructor will be proud.

Make eye contact

Paying attention in class sometimes doesn’t cut it with those extra-hard-ass instructors. Making eye contact and smiling now and then could greatly improve your chances in class. Create a connection, forge a bond, take interest and let your professor know it. Smile, nod, frown… anything to let him/her know that you’re alive. If you’ve got a few extra minutes in your day, you could even start up a conversation with your instructor after class has ended. A gesture of this kind allows your instructor to know that you’ve actually got a brain behind that blank, drooling gaze.

Oh, and if you happen to be an instructor, I’ve never, ever done any of this. I swear.

Don’t be a butt kisser

Sincerely wanting to do well in a class is the absolute best way to do well in it. No amount of trickery can fool an instructor into giving you a better grade. These recommendations, if taken seriously, can help you. If you’re just out to smooch on some behind, you’ll probably end up doing just as terribly as you normally would, but the instructor will hate you because you’re trying to pucker up. Be truthful. People like that.

All right, folks, I need your questions, and I need them now. I’m talking to the few of you who actually read this article. If you have anything, anything to ask me, please e-mail your question to [email protected].

Don’t be embarrassed. We all need a little help sometimes. Anything you send is the property of The Skyline View and could be published, so make sure to leave out nasty details. Unless, of course, you want to make that kind of knowledge public.