Home CommentaryStudent Life The frosh’s guide to getting ahead of your colleagues

The frosh’s guide to getting ahead of your colleagues

by Archives September 2, 2008

Out of 2500 applicants to its law school last year, Queens university accepted less than 500. Only one in five.

Believe it or not, these are good odds; or, rather, good relative to those offered by med-schools, PhD programs or paid internships.
It’s because of these odds that the golden rule of university isn’t “Love thy neighbour”; instead, universities operate on the following principle: it’s easier to get ahead of someone if they’re moving backwards.
Three years from now, or thirteen, whenever you finally graduate, remember that like Gila Monsters in new suits, the first ones out of their shells will start life by eating their slower kin.
Since this is a competition, it’s important to consider what you can do, to give yourself that important leg up.

Always remember to analyze the competition and pick your targets well.
Your roommate may be a smart person, but if they’re scraping up a mixture of tobacco, weed and crumbs off the coffee table, and describing this “melange” as a “nice salad” for their “petit déjeuner” you can probably write them off as a threat. Sure Mordecai knows all about the major works of Stanley Kubrick, but he’s in Sociology. For that matter don’t worry about anyone in sociology. Other dubious departments that attract those, with, shall we say, lesser mental strength: marketing, leasure sciences, atheletic therapy, occupational therapy, theater, music, journalism and creative writing. Your threats are those in programs that begin with the word “pre”. Pre-law, pre-med (preschool however is a notable exception – though children are the future, your future competition, bear that in mind…)
One of the best ways to nip competition in the bud is with bud, or a bud. Remeber this is University: that keener on day one, you know the high school validictorian, now that he’s on his own he’s feeling a little more adventurous. Once Kahled discovers beer, he’s not your problem.
You can probably forget about almost everyone in Rez, they’re going to destroy themselves, sure they’re probably having more fun (and more sex) but you’re here to get ahead in life, not have a “college experience”.
For those perhaps a little more impervious to the charms of cheap booze, drugs and casual sex, you might need to get religious. But choose the religion carefully. Anything mainstream is pretty much out of the question, unless you’re in evolutionary biology, your religious brethren pose as much (if not more) than your secular “friends” (remember you don’t have friends, only interests)
Mind you, I’m not talking about all religions. There’s no point in passing on mainstream religions to your colleagues – the last thing you want is them developing some kind of hellish Calvinist work ethic; no, the best religion-as-distraction is the kind found on a sandwich-board, or passed out by some glass-eyed zombie in a metro stairwell.
Every student has some period when the stress of exams, assignments and new ideas is too much; times when they reach out for something more.
And it’s your job to be there for your “friend” in those times, with words of comfort – and its handy if those words come in book format, ideally with a guru in tow.
From Larouichianism to Scientology, there are a bevy of vapid, cortex-numbing opiates out there, ready to pounce on your friend’s weaknesses; and who knows, with any luck, and given the right push at the right moment, they might well end up some cow-eyed tamborine-thumper, forever turned off of the “man’s” system.
Remeber you can only be excomunicated from religions you’re actually a member of, sure you might not get into to the Celestial Kingdom but since they’re not the correct faith, it doesn’t really matter.

Share notes – just not the right ones.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you’re going to succeed, attendance in class is a must. But being there isn’t just important so you’ll know what’s going on – it’s also important so that you’ll appear to.
After all, everyone misses the odd class from time to time, and when they do, you should be the one to whom they turn for notes. This situation is money.
Loan out your “study notes” to any absentees -caveat emptor.
Handwriting is the most basic thing to work on. Think doctors.
Reading your notes should require the Rosetta Stone and a slide-rule.
Mastering the use of incomprehensible scribble is a double-good.
First, it forces them to waste hours of their time trying to decipher your coffee-stained heiroglyphics; second, it makes any mistakes in the translation and “factual inaccuracies” emminently deniable.
Just remember: keep your lies believable. Intersperse them with enough raw fact to camoflauge them, and keep them small enough that they don’t stand out. your classmates probably won’t believe Nixon freed the slaves, but they might just buy that he owned some.
All in all, though, this sort of thing can’t be set down in detail; it’s a matter of improvisation and timing. From coffee conveniently spilt on a workbook, to a firedrill five minutes into a presentation, there are a myriad of ways to help your co-worker out of your way – all eminently deniable, of course.
Just remember: if it’s true that the best sort of charity is anonymous, then that goes double for its opposite.

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