Move over Toby Young, and let U of T students demonstrate how it’s actually done. As proud members of the self-proclaimed “Harvard of the North”, we take the concept and practice of “survival of the fittest” to a whole new level.
Disclaimer: the situations below are purely hypothetical. Should you have actually displayed such pernicious behaviour, we know your student number*.
- BE the urban legend: as soon as a class assignment is received, race to the library during the break between your two-hour long lecture, and grab the reference book of the highest relevance. Tear out the most important page, frame it and hang it up on your wall. The rest of the class? Pwned. Mission accomplished.
- Miraculously discover a stack of notes/old books that are not actually yours, take them and place them all over those highly coveted study spots in libraries, for you and your imaginary friends. Even if you end up losing them (because you’ve been away from your “saved spot” for so long that you’ve forgotten their existence completely), it’s okay, because they weren’t yours anyway. Meanwhile, gleefully watch new-comers walking around looking defeated, being starved of study space. Mutter the word “Commuters” the Draco Malfoy way.
- While in the library, sit across a visibly identifiable Keener, and chew on your homemade sandwich loudly. With your mouth open. (This works best in Gerstein.)
- While in the library, accidentally forget to turn your cell phone to silent/vibrate mode. When someone calls, take your time to answer it and initiate a 30-minute chat sitting in your seat. Whisper loudly and laugh a lot.
- When studying in the library, say “SHHH!” with a vengeance every ten minutes or so. Even when the room is dead silent.
- Bring a bag of chips to lectures, sit behind that really smart kid with his/her precious voice recorder, and happily munch away. Sneeze and cough a few times in between and loudly excuse yourself. Tell the person next to you that you actually have pneumonia but you can’t force yourself to stay home because you just love learning so much.
- Grab a pre-med’s lecture notes when he/she is not looking, and scribble in big red letters across the page: “I KNOW WHAT YOUR GPA WAS LAST SEMESTER”. Then watch them turn pale.
- In lectures, never stop asking questions. Always start with: “I find it interesting that…” then bring up an obscure fact you can probably only find in xkcd.
- On professor-accessible student/course forums, openly criticize the incompetency of the teaching staff and other students, and sincerely express the great injustice you feel that, due to a badly written test, your average has just dropped from a 99% to a 98%.
- Take a stroll down St. George St. at 6:05pm while listening to Emmy Rossum on your mp3: “JUST SLOW ME DOWNNN”.
- When writing a test, tap your pen incessantly against the desk to reduce your anxiety level. Repetitive movements usually aid concentration–when you don’t realize you are making it.
- Go earlier than usual to the place of your midterm, bring a question from a past test that wasn’t even covered in this year’s lectures, and run around asking random people with dilated pupils about how to do this difficult question, while completely freaking out in their faces, shouting “OUR AVERAGE ON THE LAST ONE WAS TOO HIGH! THEY ARE GONNA OWN US ON THIS ONE!! Oh my god we are so screwed!!” That should do the job of effectively lowering the class average, in which case an upward bell-curve is imminent.
For some things in life, a love/hate relationship is unavoidable. Like, my attitude towards U of T, for instance. I love it for the exact same reason that I sometimes loathe it so: the ridiculous amount of competition that I just can’t seem to avoid. At its worst, it’s oppressive, discouraging, and just really, really scary. In fact, sometimes I honestly wonder if the word “chill” means anything to anyone around here. At its best, though, it very accurately depicts the “sink or swim” world out there, and thankfully, since we’ve been trained so hard to deal with it since day one, by the time we graduate we would (hopefully) not only become more aggressive but also self-sufficient. And I think that deep down, we all realize that “only necessity is heavy, and only what is heavy has value”. This is why, despite all the complaining, we still splurge unnecessarily on anything that carries the U of T logo–because we are actually proud to be here.
It’s true that the above scenarios borderline extreme, and, to be honest, they are rather underhanded tactics if you are serious about winning. Yet most of us have probably experienced some milder forms of these situations at one point or another in our undergraduate careers. However, since we’ve all made the choice to be here, and have thus welcomed the competition, we might as well as play by some rules: be as hardcore as you want to be, but be fair, be considerate, and don’t cheat. It’s one thing to be speaking softly, and another to be carrying a big stick. Dale Carnegie’s got it down a long time ago: who doesn’t want to win friends and influence people?
*Just kidding, how the hell would we know who you are? But what goes around comes around. And JT is never wrong.