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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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Time Wasters: How to survive a boring class



Let’s face it, class is boring. Even the good classes are still far less entertaining than those late night infomercials starring Peter Fonda for the Time Life collection, “Flower Power.” Professors seem more and more inclined to take attendance, making the problem unavoidable. They’re also catching on and taking away our most important tools for combating lectures on “Tort Reform from 1935-1937”, our laptops and cell phones. And even if there’s not an outright ban on technology in class, you run the risk of being caught if you start laughing at cat videos in the middle of lecture about genocide.

Luckily, the Mass Media is here to help you, and we’ve got a bunch of games and time-wasters to help you avoid doing the one thing you’re supposed to do at college: learn.

Doodling – This one is obvious, but it’s worth mentioning, mainly because if you’re really good at it, you can get away with making great works of art while looking like you’re taking notes. You’ll look like a good student, and you’ll have stuff to sell on Etsy.

Dots – The classic two-person pen-and-paper game. If you’ve got a buddy, and you’re sitting pretty far in the back so you can pass a notebook back and forth without drawing attention, this is a great one. Make a grid of dots. Then, take turns drawing lines connecting two of them. Every time a box is completed, put your initials in it. When all the dots are connected, the winner is the one who has completed the most boxes.

Start a Journal – Before the internet, blogs were “journals,” except that you didn’t share your inner monologue with everyone because, let’s face it, your inner monologue is… not that interesting (no one cares how hilarious that thing Shannon said was). If you really feel compelled to share your journals with the world for outside validation, you can still scan them in and upload them after class. It’ll be ironic. This one also looks like you’re taking notes, which is nice.

Rank Your Classmates – If you’re with a friend, but passing a notebook isn’t possible, agree beforehand that you’ll just rank all the girls/guys in your class, and then compare your rankings afterward. If you’re not in an attractive class (I’m looking at you, engineers), indicate the number of beers you’d need before you made a move on each person.

The Hand-Raising Game – Every time the teacher asks a question, the goal is to raise your hand, but not get called on. Once someone is called on, put your hand down and add a point to your score. Add two points if your professor remembers that your hand was up and calls on you anyway. Add three points if you say, “Oh, never mind, the person before me said what I was going to say.” If you’re so unlucky as to be called on first, pretend your mind went blank. The first time that happens, you get one point, but every subsequent time your “mind goes blank,” you get five.

Write an Album – Bon Iver wrote his in a cabin in the woods, and it’s objectively terrible. Surely you could write something better, even if it’s bizarrely organic chemistry-inspired.

Play a Drinking Game – With all the classes at UMass Boston that are smack in the middle of Happy Hour, why wait until you get to the bar to start drinking? Make up a list of rules based on things that happen in class (such as every time a professor says “postmodern,” or someone gives a really, really stupid answer), bring some rum and coke in a 20-ounce soda bottle, and get hammered while you’re technically paying attention.

Write a Manifesto – All of the great crazy people in history have had manifestos. Write yours, and make sure it’s really nuts, so that in case you do get in trouble with the law, the cops will have a lot to talk about.

Fake Coughing and Sneezing fits – See how long it takes for people to notice and try to shush you. Up the ante and start coughing and sneezing directly on people. You get bonus points if you’re not actually faking it, and you really are giving everyone in Avant-Garde Cinema the flu.

Give Bad Answers – If you’re playing the drinking game with a friend, and want to get them super wasted, help him or her along by shouting out really, really stupid answers.

Pay Attention – If all else fails, you always could try to learn something, although this isn’t recommended and should only be done as a last resort.