Syllabus Week, aka the first week of any college semester, can be overwhelming and chaotic, especially since you’ll probably be drunk for 90% of it. Fortunately, these tips will help guide you through what is sure to be one of the least challenging experiences of your life.
1. Try to avoid conversations in which you need to pluralize syllabus: “Oh God, this semester is going to suck. I must have over 80 pages of… syllabuses… syllabi… syllabusies… syllables… ah fuck it, I’m moving back in with my parents.”
2. Have some engrossing mental diversions planned in preparation for the invariable professors who choose to spend the first class reading their entire 17 page syllabus out loud (including the Academic Dishonesty Policy). For instance, you could try deciding which D-List celebrity each of your classmates looks like, or which of you would last longest in a Donner Party/cannibalism scenario. Just try and conceal your complete disengagement by nodding once and a while and scribbling something in the margins of your notebook.
3. Get ready for lots of really awkward “icebreakers,” like Two Lies and a Truth, The Name Game, or Forced Social Interaction Makes Me Die On The Inside. Wait, scratch that last one — that’s just what I’m thinking during every icebreaker.
4. Go out. Like, all the time. You only have so many semesters left before people start considering your behavior grounds for an intervention.
5. Take the time to figure out where your classes are, particularly if you live on a large campus. It’ll be one less thing to wrap your hung-over brain around as you head to your morning classes. Also, if you stop to ask for directions or look at a map, people will automatically assume you’re a freshman and silently judge you; from a social perspective, you might as well be one of those lepers from biblical times who had to walk around ringing a bell to ward off their fellow townspeople.
6. Or, just skip class altogether. I did it all the time, and look at me — I sleep indoors most nights!
7. Don’t bother reading past the second week of assignments and class topics; sure, it’s filled with seemingly important dates and course expectations, but that sounds like something for some indeterminate, future version of you to worry about. If someone tries initiating a conversation about the midterm or final, blurt out “Spoiler alert!” and change the topic.
8. Don’t feel guilty for setting the alarm for your 11:30 a.m. class, “just in case” — it’s significantly less shameful than actually over-sleeping your 11:30 a.m. class.
9. You want to get out of your first class early. The professor knows you want to get out early. You know the professor knows you want to get out early. And the professor knows that you know that the professor knows you want to get out early.
But, don’t expect to get out of the first class early; your odds are decent, but not great, and that way it will be a pleasant surprise if it happens.
10. Wait around after your classes end to speak with your professors. After exchanging in some small-talk, give them the heads-up that your girlfriend is pregnant and due to give birth “right around the end of the semester.” You may never have to bring it up again, but it’s nice to plant the seeds for a future excuse as early as possible. You can still use this trick if you’re a heterosexual girl — your professor will be too terrified of saying something that could be misconstrued as politically incorrect to ask any questions.
11. Pick out the cutest person in all of your classes and think of a great way to start a conversation with them. You’ll either never actually talk to them or get nervous and completely screw up whatever you had planned (“Weather bad it rain today, what you think?”), but your painful, misdirected yearnings will at least make class slightly more entertaining.
12. Remember: you will never have so few responsibilities in your life again. Enjoy it while it lasts. Take the time to do things that you won’t have the time to do in a few years, like reading every book by Don DeLillo, writing a short story, or playing a Madden franchise through the year 2024. Hey, I never said they had to be important things.