Seven Things to Say to Get Your Participation Grade Up
As the end of the quarter approaches, instead of reading or prepping for discussion sections, I am planning out how to pay my rent while still supporting my two-ventis-a-day habit, trying to figure out the next time I’m getting laid and generally telling myself after 4 hours of human interaction that I “deserve to lay in bed and watch Downton Abbey until three o’clock in the morning.”* However, upon checking my grades this morning, I realized that my participation grades are objectively sucking. In recompense, I’ve compiled a list of no-fail phrases to use in class in order to spike my participation grade. The only work required is a subtle squinting of the eyes, a nod here and there and if you’re feeling really ambitious, chew on the end of your pen while staring intently at the person speaking.
- “Isn’t this just a case of cultural appropriation?”: works for history, political science, English and sociology classes. Big words ftw.
- “How can we read this in a Marxist context?”: I said this in a Gender Studies class once and my TA (who had a PhD in economics) almost came.
- “There are some complicated power dynamics in this (situation, novel, piece of art, etc. etc.)”: The uncomplicated power dynamic is you OWNING this participation grade.
- “What if this is just a metaphor for death?”: My fellow Humanities students: always talk about sex or death. (SEE ALSO: number 5)
- “The idea of the phallus is really big here.”: Extra points if you get someone to say ‘that’s what she said.’
- “What if (and then insert whatever the fuck you want while gesturing subtly and squinting your eyes. Be sure to trail off as if you’re really wrestling with whatever you’ve put forth and shrug your best weary-academic shrug)….?”: Only useful if your TA is very insecure. Also useful in classes where there is an asshole who follows up everyone else’s comments with a disagreement.
- “This really reminded me of (cite most recent Netflix marathon).”: I have linked Walt Whitman to The O.C., Simone de Beauvoir to One Tree Hill and my personal favorite, Edward Said to Parks and Recreation.
In the event that none of these work, please refer to other strategies, such as low-cut tops, high heels, biting your lower lip A LOT while maintaining eye contact or just being a fucking student and actually doing your reading and going to office hours and being engaged in your life. Whatever works.
*Watch ONE episode and you will understand why I keep returning for the upstairs-downstairs drama of early 20th century England. (It’s honestly because I’m killing time before House of Cards airs by practicing my English accent.)