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College is basically a bunch of rooms where you sit for roughly two thousand hours and try to memorize things. The two thousand hours are spread out over four years; you spend the rest of the time sleeping and trying to get dates.

Basically, you learn two kinds of things in college:

1. Things you will need to know in later life (two hours).

2. Things you will not need to know in later life (1,998 hours). These are the things you learn in classes whose names end in -ology, -osophy, -istry, -ics, and so on. The idea is, you memorize these things, then write them down in little exam books, then forget them. If you fail to forget them, you become a professor and have to stay in college for the rest of your life.

It’s very difficult to forget everything. For example, when I was in college, I had to memorize — don’t ask me why — the names of three metaphysical poets other than John Donne. I have managed to forget one of them, but I still remember that the other two were named Vaughan and Crashaw. Sometimes, when I’m trying to remember something important like whether my wife told me to get tuna packed in oil or tuna packed in water, Vaughan and Crashaw just pop up in my mind, right there in the supermarket. It’s a terrible waste of brain cells.

After you’ve been in college for a year or so, you’re supposed to choose a major, which is the subject you intend to memorize and forget the most things about. Here is a very important piece of advice: be sure to choose a major that does not involve Known Facts and Right Answers. This means you must not major in mathematics, physics, biology, or chemistry, because these subjects involve actual facts. If, for example, you major in mathematics, you’re going to wander into class one day and the professor will say: “Define the cosine integer of the quadrant of a rhomboid binary axis, and extrapolate your result to five significant vertices.” If you don’t come up with exactly the answer the professor has in mind, you fail. The same is true of chemistry: if you write in your exam book that carbon and hydrogen combine to form oak, your professor will flunk you. He wants you to come up with the same answer he and all the other chemists have agreed on.

Scientists are extremely snotty about this.

So you should major in subjects like English, philosophy, psychology, and sociology — subjects in which nobody really understands what anybody else is talking about, and which involve virtually no actual facts. I attended classes in all these subjects, so I’ll give you a quick overview of each:

ENGLISH: This involves writing papers about long books you have read little snippets of just before class. Here is a tip on how to get good grades on your English papers: Never say anything about a book that anybody with any common sense would say. For example, suppose you are studying Moby-Dick. Anybody with any common sense would say that Moby-Dick is a big white whale, since the characters in the book refer to it as a big white whale roughly eleven thousand times. So in your paper, you say Moby-Dick is actually the Republic of Ireland.

Your professor, who is sick to death of reading papers and never liked Moby-Dick anyway, will think you are enormously creative. If you can regularly come up with lunatic interpretations of simple stories, you should major in English.

PHILOSOPHY: Basically, this involves sitting in a room and deciding there is no such thing as reality and then going to lunch. You should major in philosophy if you plan to take a lot of drugs.

PSYCHOLOGY: This involves talking about rats and dreams. Psychologists are obsessed with rats and dreams. I once spent an entire semester training a rat to punch little buttons in a certain sequence, then training my roommate to do the same thing. The rat learned much faster. My roommate is now a doctor. If you like rats or dreams, and above all if you dream about rats, you should major in psychology.

SOCIOLOGY: For sheer lack of intelligibility, sociology is far and away the number one subject. I sat through hundreds of hours of sociology courses, and read gobs of sociology writing, and I never once heard or read a coherent statement. This is because sociologists want to be considered scientists, so they spend most of their time translating simple, obvious observations into scientific-sounding code. If you plan to major in sociology, you’ll have to learn to do the same thing. For example, suppose you have observed that children cry when they fall down. You should write: “Methodological observation of the sociometrical behavior tendencies of prematurated isolates indicates that a casual relationship exists between groundward tropism and lachrimatory, or ‘crying,’ behavior forms.” If you can keep this up for fifty or sixty pages, you will get a large government grant.

1. Stay clear of all windows.
2. Seat yourself at a hard chair at least four (4) feet from desk or table.
3. Loosen necktie, belt, or other restricting clothing.
4. Remove eye glasses and other sharp instruments (pens and pencils) that might be in your pockets.
5. Bend over with your head between your legs.
6. Firmly kiss your ass “Good bye.

On the way home from the first day of school, the father asked his son, “What did you do at school today?”

The little boy shrugged his shoulders and said, “Nothing”.

Hoping to draw his son into conversation, the father persisted and said, “Well, did you learn about any numbers, study certain letters, or maybe a particular color?”

The perplexed child looked at his father and said, “Daddy, didn’t you go to school when you were a little boy?”

Sung to the tune of Beauty and the Beast’s “Be our guest”

Abbreviation glossary:

P: Professors
S1, S2, S3:Distinct students
S: Students in unison
TA: Teaching assistant

P: Ma chere tuition-payers,it is with deepest sadism and greatest power that we welcome you this morning. And now, we require you to get tense, let us pull up a chair, as the faculty proudly presents – your final!

P: Take your test
Take your test
Are you nervous? Are you stressed?
Winter’s just around the corner now
We love this time the best
Physics laws
English lit.
Why, you’ll never want to quit
What’s the formula for vinyl?
Don’t you love to take a final!
Classic film
Modern dance
All the kings and queens of France
You’ll be writing with such energy and zest
Go on and take some blue books
You’ll at least need two books
Take your test
Fake your test
Take your test

World War I
World War II
You’ll be chugging Mountain Dew
As you scram back home to cram
And stay awake the whole night through
If you’re here
And you’re scared
Then you’re prob’ly unprepared
Don’t tell me about your party
You should study, Mr. Smarty
Distant stars
Shakespeare’s plays
Let us run you through our maze

S1: Did you ever get the feeling we’re oppressed?

P: Don’t question our regime
How could you dare blaspheme?
Now take your test
(You’ve B.S.ed,
But you’d rather say you’ve “guessed”)
Take your test
Take your test
Take your test
Life’s all smiles and smirking
For a student who’s not working
It’s a gas without a class to load him down
Ah, those good old days way back in grade school
Suddenly he wants his cap and gown
While he’s been busy learning
Curiosity’s been burning
What’s it like to have a minute to himself?
He won’t know ’til after graduation
They came here so lazy
Now we’re driving them all crazy!

S1: It’s a test!

S2: It’s a test!

S3: This can’t be! I still need rest!

P: You want sleep, you little creep?
That’s very good. That’s quite a jest
Ancient worlds
Complex math
And we won’t withhold our wrath
Yes, we’ll give you quite a beating
If we catch you while you’re cheating
Chinese art
Civil E.

S3: Help me please! I’m having cardiac arrest!

S1: Somebody check his heart!

P: Then label every part!
It’s on your test

S: That’s our test?

P: That’s your test

S: What a pest!

TA: Here’s a test
There’s a test
I’m so very much depressed
Have to grade each one of these in just a day
And I’m hard-pressed!
Why our “quarters” come in threes
While the deadline still is looming
I’ll keep grading
I’ll keep fuming
P: Course by course
One by one
‘Til you shout, “This isn’t fun!”
Then we’ll laugh at every place that you digressed
We’ve done our best to pester
See you next semester!
Take your test
Take your test
Take your test
Now, take your test

A professor was giving a big test one day to his students. He handed out all of the tests and went back to his desk to wait. Once the test was over, the students all handed the tests back in. The professor noticed that one of the students had attached a $100 bill to his test with a note saying “A dollar per point.” The next class the professor handed the tests back out. This student got back his test and $56 change.

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