No, no, Glen Coco: What not to do as a freshman on a college campus
I am a teacher’s pet.
Yep. That’s right. I am one of those obnoxiously annoying people who do
everything they possibly can to look good in the teacher’s eyes. In fact, I know just
about every trick there is to being a teacher’s pet and in high school I had absolutely
no moral qualms with irritating others in my attempt to gain the teacher’s affection.
I would bake for my teachers and offer to babysit their kids. For free. I joined two
clubs expressly to spend more time with the advisors and look responsible in their
eyes, and I would come during their free blocks just to chat. I even cajoled them
when it didn’t matter.
For example, when all of my peers were out throwing graduation parties and
going wild, celebrating the end of their high school careers, I hosted an appreciation
brunch for all my most influential teachers as a way to say goodbye. Talk about a
So, when I got to college, I was looking forward to starting the suck up process
again, but when I received all of my syllabi, I discovered I had classes during every
single professor’s office hours. Needless to say, my hopes were dashed.
How was I supposed to be friends with them when I only had fifty minutes
three times a week to get them to like me? I wasn’t. That’s one of the first lessons I
learned. All I had to do was prepare, be present and participate. Having a very anal
personality, I promised myself that I would do those three things.
One day last semester, I broke that promise.
I was really not looking forward to going to one of my classes, and one of my
classmates had texted me the same thing, so I convinced myself that it would be
acceptable to skip class.
It was just one day! What could happen? I mean I had friends do it all the time. I
even admired them for doing it, but I had never tried, and I assure you I never will
That being said, the topic of this column is not to discourage you from skipping
class. While it’s not something I, personally, can handle, I could never tell you what
decision to make. I merely want to propose a couple of precautions to take if you do
decide to skip class.
First, send your professor some sort of email. I was caught in my rebellion the
following class day when my professor asked if I was ok. It didn’t occur to me
that he would actually care whether or not I was there, because the class wasn’t
on a subject I felt particularly skilled at and participated easily in. We have such
a unique community at MC in that the professors do care about the wellbeing of
their students and I felt so fraudulent for having made him worry. Not to say that
he had been continuously worrying about me, but the fact that he even addressed
the situation after the fact demonstrated that I had been on his mind at some point.
Therefore, I would propose sending your professor some sort of email that you will
be unable to attend do to “unforeseen circumstances” or because “something came
up.” It just lets them know you’re alive, even if you don’t think they’ll care worth a
Secondly, do not tweet or get on Facebook during that class. As it so happened,
I was on Facebook while I was skipping, and one of my classmates must have been
sneaking his phone during class because I got a message from him asking where I
was. I was caught again, directly this time. If you don’t get on social media, no one
will have any reason to suspect you of not being there for selfish reasons, which I do
confess did factor into my not being there.
Finally, for the love of God, stalk your professor a little bit first. I don’t mean for
you to go all predator on him and follow your professor around. Just have an idea
of where he will be before and after the class. If you run into him before class, if
you are planning on skipping or if you happen to see your professor later in the
day, act sick or really upset so that he’ll take pity on you. It’s manipulative, but I’ve
witnessed it work like a charm.
Also, know where he parks his car. It’s easy to get professors talking about
themselves because they spend so much time talking about other things. They enjoy
talking about their children or spouses or cars, and you’ll reap the benefits. There
is nothing worse than walking out of Highland Grounds and down the steps, just to
come face to face with your professor walking toward his car to leave after the class
you just skipped. Trust me. I would know.