Life-hacking your way through school
Andrea Ang (The Philippine Star) - June 27, 2014 - 12:00am

How to do everything you’ve been attempting to do in college

MANILA, Philippines - Even the most well-adjusted of us have it rough the first few weeks of college. But it’s only when you half-jokingly admit to your new friends that you have no idea what the hell you’re doing and they immediately chime in with stories about how they look through Twitter every morning just for something to talk about or how they agonize over what to do in between breaks that you realize, hey, you aren’t the crazy psycho killer at the end of the movie. You’re just in college.

This week, we rounded up a few tips on how to successfully hack your way through school. From finishing a semester with straight As to making your allowable cuts productive, we cracked the code on making college go as smoothly as possible. 

How to make friends

One of the most dreadful things about college is the awkwardness of making new friends. We all have our prospects, but what do you do when you’re just plain shy?

Conversational T-shirt. Preferably of a band you actually listen to, a movie you’ve actually seen, etc., so on and so forth.

No sunglasses. Unless they’re Sunnies by Charlie, to automatically initiate the necessary selfie.

Necessary expletives to latest Game of Thrones episode. But no spoilers, man. NO SPOILERS.

Share an umbrella. Think of it as speed dating: Don’t expect a made-for-TV movie moment, but if you can somehow communicate during the seven-minute walk from one building to another that you are not in fact a Satan worshipper, this could actually lead to an eight-minute conversation in the future

Volunteer as beadle. No one likes a teacher’s pet, you say? Well, nothing will make it easier to approach you than if people actually had a reason to. Plus your teacher will most likely have warm, fuzzy feelings for you by the end of the sem, easily knocking your grade a letter higher. You’re welcome.

Have something to say other than “It’s so hot/boring/lame” here. Read a book, it’ll do you wonders.

Be nice. You probably aren’t funny. Nice is a pretty decent second place though: pay a compliment, let your male blockmates finish your food, let your girl blockmates talk about clothes. It’s much easier than you think.

Or just be the bitch you actually are. Birds of a feather flock together and you’ll definitely find people who can dedicate entire conversations to the circumference of Channing Tatum’s neck.

How to pass a class

Now that you have your support group, it’s time to get to the actual business of studying. How do you do keep your focus in a post-Viber world?

Show up. Teachers are more likely to fail the irresponsible, too-cool-for-school types who only show up halfway through class half of the time than the not-so-smart earnest one.

Stake your claim. Early on in the sem — preferably the first few meetings — throw down a really intelligent bit of contribution to the discussion. You’re solved for the rest of the semester.

Sit beside a friend who is a responsible student and just so happens to look like you (take it from me: it’s good to be Chinese). Especially useful when (s)he actually likes reciting in class. All you have to do is sit there, not breathe, and keep your fingers crossed that your teacher thinks you and your friend are one person.

Keep your phone off the table. Your teacher thinks you’re into the class, you may actually learn something and you play a bit of hard to get with that person you’ve been texting non-stop every day for the last month. Win-win-wiiiiin.

Notebook open, pen uncovered. It’s fine if you’re actually just writing haikus about the mole on the left shoulder blade of the girl sitting in front of you — your teacher will mistake that wistful looking into the distance as your thinking face because you’re using a notebook. A laptop, however, draws suspicion and may result in actually getting called on.

Stay away from the basketball player or the foreign exchange student. Sure, they could be great friends, but they demand attention by default. If you’re going to coast this class, no one has to know about it.

Listen. College isn’t high school, and even if you think it’s not worth learning, you’ll pick up a lot by simply focusing once in a while. 

Study for a test. Skipping class to study for another may seem something up along the way. Give it a shot. If it really is the most boring thing ever, learn to sleep with your eyes open.

How to make your cuts worth it

Believe it or not, students sometimes use what they learn in school to skip classes (see: work-life balance for business students). But if you believe in playing before working, here are a few tips on how to make the most out of cutting classes.

Commute to the nearest food neighbourhood. Kapitolyo, Maginhawa, Binondo — all that food is yours and your blockmates’ for the Instagram-taking. It would also not be a bad idea to go for restaurants that have notoriously long lines at this time, because everyone else is at work or in class. Suckazzz.

Go on an “adventure.” Even the adventure is as dumb as attempting to experience the magic of the Ateneo-Miriam friendship bridge (we expected fairies, rainbows, maybe a waterfall or two; instead we got a security guard not-so-subtly asking if we were going to Miriam to visit “someone special”), go — because you’ll be counterproductive but if it’s a lecture hall of 80 students versus ridding yourself of Accounting forever, pick the latter.

Mother Nature decreed it. Don’t have an umbrella and the walk to class isn’t covered? Zzz. Zzz. Zzz.

Never cut in succession. Taking a breather every now and then is fine, but you should still have a general idea of what’s going on in class. Remember: you don’t actually have to use every cut.

G. Don’t overthink. Half the fun of college is getting to do whatever the hell you want. Whatever it is, g.

How to flunk out of college

Do you hate college? Do you want to have a hard time finding a job? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then take these tips into consideration.

Make out. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Was that the bell? Whatever. Let’s go again.

Surround yourself with similarly blank-minded people. If everyone you know has no goals other than to blow smoke rings, you’re already halfway there.

Get turnt up at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday. Obviously there are exceptions to this one, but there is also the alternative of fixing your schedule so that you can make it to happy hour and class (and happy hour again, if you’re really good).

Use zero logic. “It’s too hot, let’s not go to class”? Um, when is it not too hot in the Philippines to go to class?

Let it consume you. There are a lot of different reasons for one to fail out of college, but more often than not, it’s because something is taking up too much mental and emotional space. If you want to stay, let it go. If not, let ‘er rip.

Ask for the F. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually pretty hard to legitimately fail a class. It takes serious dedication, commitment, what-have-you. It may be easier to just tell your teacher straight-up you don’t want to learn anything so you don’t actually have to — God forbid — work for an F.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with