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Volume 68, Issue 62, Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Opinion
 

Slacking off is a useful art

Matthew Caster
Opinion Columnist

Undoubtedly, college is the best four, five, six or seven years of your life or at least it would be, if we didn't all have things like classes, professors, tests and projects getting in the way. Admit it: you'd be having a lot more fun right now if you weren't worried about finals coming up. Have no fear, friends, for there is hope. Whether you are male or female, Republican or Democrat, a sensible or "lite" beer-drinker, one option is open to all of us: slacking.

Slacking, as defined by the Caster lexicon, is the belief that to not do anything constructive today is OK, because you know it's going to be all right. Study for the test? What test? Starting on your project? Nah, it can wait until next week. You see, as the old saying goes, it all comes out in the wash.

I am really good at slacking. I was always a good student through junior high and high school then senior year came along. Senioritis hit me hard-core on the first day of class, and it hasn't let up in the four years since. 

It's not that I'm not as smart as I used to be; I just choose to exhibit my intelligence in interesting ways. Being an engineering student gives ample opportunity for this. Back before I understood the whole calculus thing, my homework included math fuzzier than Al Gore's tax return. I now know it is possible to create explosives the U.S. government is envious of simply by randomly mixing chemicals in a lab.

And after much experimentation, I was able to prove mathematically that consuming a six-pack of cold beer makes anything possible, no matter what the laws of nature say.

This year, slacking has become especially easy for me, as I am yet again a senior. Slacking properly, however, requires several important commitments on the part of the slacker (yes, you do have to try to slack).

The key to slacking is to do just enough to satisfactorily complete whatever it is you're trying to do. If you were to just blow off everything in your classes, including quizzes, tests, projects and the professor, all you'd have to show for it is a big, fat 'F.' That accomplishes nothing. What's important is you do just enough to slide by with a passing grade.

Like homework, for example. If homework is required in your class, it's probably only worth like 10 percent of your grade. Who cares about that?

Another key is keeping the professor distracted. Professors don't like slackers, so you have to convince him or her that you're not one. The trick here involves pretending you already know it all. The professor snaps a question directly at you ... what do you do? Share the wealth. Answer with something like, "So-and-so and I were discussing that very question right before class, and he/she had a fascinating take on it, so perhaps he/she can give a better answer than I can." It always works, and if you prepare for it, you won't waste an ounce of skull-sweat. In the interests of keeping your friends, "So-and-so" needs to be the person in the class you like the least.

Above all, keep the faith, and stay committed. I thought I had a bunch of slacker friends in the engineering department, but all of a sudden they've all gotten panicky about their grades and started focusing again. Since they've slacked this far, though, their grades won't come up that much anyway, and they'll exert far more effort than I for little material reward.

Just keep a few things in mind while slacking, and you'll be fine. First, no one really cares about your GPA. Second, harder classes are easier to slack in because there are enough stupid people in the class to bring the average down. Finally, five years from now, you'll be able to look back on college as the greatest time of your life; a time when you focused on the important things like good friends, good fun and doing what it takes to get by.

Ignorance is not bliss. Slacking is.

Caster, a senior petroleum engineering major and 
professional slacker, can be reached at patrioticcatmaster@yahoo.com.

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