Academic Success

03/22/2009 By Shawn Burns

I don’t know what the secret is.

But I may be the only person in history to write his dissertation the night before it is due. I seem to be constitutionally incapable of starting a paper early.

I’d rather Erin not use her father as a model for success in school.

Study hard. (Do not watch Battlestar Galactica while you should be reading papers.)

Prepare thoroughly. (Do not figure out at the last minute what your research topic is going to be, and then hope the books you checked out are in any way relevant.)

Ask for help. (Do not pretend that only the professor is smart enough to understand what you are saying.)

Take lots of notes. (Do not underline phrases in books without noting what is important to you about them. “Purple rutabaga” will make no sense to you out of context.)

Review all of those notes. (Or else, what’s the point?)

Pay attention. (Knowing the plot to every Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, while valuable, is usually not going to help you do long division. So maybe you shouldn’t try to reconstruct the episode where Buffy’s mom is dating John Ritter while you are supposed to be learning about the difference between determinism, fatalism, and pre-destination.)