How to have an A+ average at University (the honest version)

1.  Be unadventurous. Save your interesting thoughts and new ideas. Do not write about them.

2. Pray for a lecturer who is both good and interesting. Settle for one who is competent. Become resigned to inadequacy. Develop coping strategies.

3. Do your fucking work. Do it on time and with correct grammar. Be realistic about the amount of effort that goes into researching, composing and writing.

4. Watch your lecturers carefully. Look at the books they reference and the conclusions they draw. Ensure you draw either the same or closely related conclusions.

5. Do not be a test case for a lecturer’s whim. Forget the idea of loving a challenge. Pick a question you know you can answer, and hope that the research is interesting.

6. Excellence is thoroughness and reliability. Swallow your guilt that your peers who are brilliant and passionate get lower grades than you who are thorough, and try to forgive your lecturers.

7. Every lecturer wants something different from an assessment. You must learn what that is, because most are shit at conveying it.

8. You will cease to be excited by the topics you love, and will instead become enthralled by anything taught by an excellent lecturer. To help with motivation, try to convince yourself they are taking all your courses.

9. You will need friends. Choose people you admire, and cut off the assholes who mock you for your grades.

10. Wait for postgraduate study. Pray for a supervisor who isn’t racist, homophobic, or sexist. Most of all, pray that you still want to study by then.

Full disclosure: Arts degree (undergraduate), double major in Classics and Ancient History. I’m about to begin my final semester.

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