How to win a Student Council Election

Funny Pic One of the more brilliant ideas that the great mind who thinks up all high school policies came up with is the idea of student governments. Obviously, you want to know how to improve the school from the point of view of those who would rather be anywhere in the world but school.

However, the first thing that must be done is electing these student council, student government, or student organized crime representatives. This is where you come in.

You see, at most schools, if you’re elected, you get put in the ‘leadership’ class. Sure, this boosts your college application, but it means something even more important: you now have a study hall that doesn’t say study hall on the transcript.

Sure, at some points you’ll have to actually work, but ‘leadership’ looks just as good and is one one-millionth of the work of, say, AP Biochemistry Physics Geology (or APBPG, for short).

Now, if you’re like any high school student, this almost sounds too good to be true. It’s not, I assure you. Only things like sleeping on a bed of gum are too good to be true.

So, then, the obvious question is: how can you win the elections? Should you pull a Watergate? Should you solicit donations? Should you solicit donations while Googling “Watergate”? (For those who don’t know, which is probably all of you, the Watergate scandal involved Mr. Nixon and a dam that he opened that flooded Washington D.C., making Congress mad at him).

Follow the Rules

You see, the first thing that every candidate gets is a packet with all of the rules for campaigning. The packet details procedures concerning what you hand out (such as buttons), when you can campaign, and which bank you are allowed to use when bribing voters. By not following the rules, you get disqualified, making it impossible to win.

For example, let’s say you are allowed exactly 1:00 to give your speech (that’s minute, not hour; this isn’t reality TV like C-SPAN) . You need to talk for exactly one minute, to the hundredth of a second. I find that the easiest way to do this is to train yourself using shock-therapy, opera singing, or both (such as: “[Singing] OOOOAOAHOAOOA-ouch!-OOOO”). Don’t ask me why that works.

Hand Out Awesome Stuff

Another part of the beloved campaigning is the the handing out of “awesome stuff,” such as buttons, pins, or things for people to wear on their shirt (such as pins or buttons). Obviously, handing out pins or buttons is not creative enough. Everyone will do that.

Instead, come up with awesome things to hand out, based on your first name so that people will be instantly reminded of who you are. If your name is Clay, for instance, hand out some aesthetically pleasing dried clay lumps. If your name is David, hand out some old VHS ‘vids’. And if your name is Jonathan, well, you’ll just have to tie up anyone named John or Nathan and hand those people out.

Make the Most of Your Speech

You will be given exactly 1:00 to make an impression on the rest of your peers. You want them to vote for you, so they need to feel like you are the best candidate around.

The easiest way is to be funny. Although your speech will be looked over by teachers, if you (assuming you are a teen boy) can slip by as many jokes like “— ——— —- —– ——? —– —- ——- — —-“* as you can, people will think you’re hilarious.

Another way is to change your personal appearance. Many people (teen boys) will shave their heads. You need to go a step further. Dye your hair blue, and then shave your head. You wouldn’t think that would make a difference, but trust me, people will know.

*note: this joke was censored to keep anyone who is not a male teenager from being offended, suing me, going blind, throwing up, and/or getting me banned from writing another word for the rest of my life. If you are a male teen, sorry. You would have found it hysterical.

After you’ve finished your campaign, the results will be announced. Assuming you did everything I instructed you to, you will have won by a landslide (literally: your sheer awesomeness will cause an earthquake, causing a landslide, which will bury all the people who weren’t going to vote for you). If you lose, it must be because fate was against you. And if fate is against you, well, let’s just say you should definitely go into politics when you grow up.

One thing that might get you more votes is if you give people rides. And you can’t give people rides unless you have a driver’s license. And you can’t get that unless you have driving lessons. Which brings me to “Learning To Drive: The Average Teenage Driving Lesson,” published this time last year. You should check it out; it’s a hundred times better than that strained transition.

Your Schedule: Life During Finals

A clockSchool ends in a month, and, like a bad blog post, you want it to end, but there’s that little bit of you that thinks: do you really want it to end? (The answer is yes). Of course, just like a bad blog post, and Rebecca Black, the more time you spend reading/watching/attending, the worse it gets. Which means that the last week of school will be full of these little inconveniences known as finals.

They are not as inconvenient as, say, waking up on the wrong side of the bed and breaking your nose because the bed is against a wall, then being carted to a hospital where they inform you that they will need to amputate your nose and that you will walk around looking like Voldemort for the rest of your life (unless, of course, you are somebody famous, in which case many people will rush to amputate their nose), but more inconvenient then, say, getting pushed into a pool while wearing a tuxedo.

I’d like to start off, two paragraphs too late, by telling you why finals are so stressful. Basically, finals determine your grade, which determines your GPA, which determines what colleges you will apply/get accepted to, which can determine your job opportunities, which determines your pay, which determines whether or not you can afford a nose operation for your kid when they, too, break their nose by waking up into a wall.

Therefore, I’ve got a sample schedule for you of life during finals week.

Weekend Before (Saturday and Sunday): Study Math, Science, English, French, Health, History, and Theoretical Nuclear Particle Physics.

10:00 PM Sunday: Get into bed.

11:00 PM Sunday: Start worrying that you might not sleep tonight.

12:00 AM Monday: Concede that there will be no real rest tonight.

1:00 AM Monday: Fall asleep.

2:34 AM Monday: Wake up, jump out of bed, and then realize your alarm hasn’t yet gone off.

4:09 AM Monday: Repeat what happened at 2:34.

5:22 AM Monday: Wake up, look at clock, and decide that it is close enough to 6 AM to warrant finally waking up.

5:23 AM Monday: Try to count how many hours of sleep you got, but stop because you are unable to add 1.5 + 1.5 +1.5.

5:24 AM Monday: Fall back to sleep.

6:00 AM Monday: Submerge head completely in cold water; the adrenaline from almost drowning should wake you up (unless you actually drown, in which case you can ignore the rest of this schedule).

6:30 AM Monday: Eat breakfast, and, depending on your intelligence level, drink coffee.

7:08 AM Monday: Almost get hit by the school bus because you had decided to sleep in the street.

7:09 AM Monday: Get angry lecture from school bus driver.

7:21 AM Monday: Get to school. Learn that school starts a half-hour later so students could get more sleep, except you can’t sleep in if you want to catch the bus because they don’t change the bus schedule.

7:22 AM Monday: Give angry lecture to school bus driver.

7:30 AM Monday: Find a quiet corner to study.

8:00 AM Monday: Start Testing.

8:33 AM Monday: Have miniature heart attack when you realize you forgot to study this section of your math book.

8:35 AM Monday: Make 27 consecutive guesses of ‘C.’

9:45 AM Monday: Finish your first final. Sleep in the hallway.

10:00 AM Monday: Start English final.

10:22 AM Monday: Realize that you will never understand the poem you’re supposed to analyze, and instead try to tie it in to vague themes like ‘life,’ ‘death,’ ‘the passage of time,’ and ‘ax^2+bx+c.’

10:24 AM Monday: Frantically scratch out your last paragraph as you remember that ax^2+bx+c was what you needed for the math test, and thus line 6 of the poem is probably not a metaphor about it.

10:47 AM Monday: Finish the English final an hour ahead of everyone else. Sweat/cry until you run out of salt.

11:45 AM Monday: English final ends. Talk in the halls with fellow test-takers and learn that the poem was actually about how clichéd the themes of ‘life,’ ‘death,’ and ‘the passage of time’ are, according to the athor.

12:00 PM Monday: Eat lunch. Study frantically for your science final. Try to simulate the formation of a solution using your Gatorade and Sandwich.

12:45 PM Monday: Start science final.

1:30 PM Monday: Your calculator runs out of batteries.

1:32 PM Monday: After two minutes of frantic negotiations with your science teacher, he’s agreed to allow you to borrow a calculator in return for getting your wallet, phone, and car.

2:30 PM Monday: Finish the science final. Go home.

3:00 PM Monday: Study for your History final. The dates actually literally start coming out of your ears, until you are in a five-inch-deep pile of dates.

6:00 PM Monday: Eat dinner while using your mashed potatoes, fork, and peas to re-enact the civil war (taking note of specific battle outcomes and their importance).

7:00 PM Monday: Start studying for your Health final.

11:00 PM Monday: Read about the dangers of being too stressed in the Health textbook.

12:00 PM Monday: Read about the dangers of getting less than eight hours of sleep a night in the Health textbook. Laugh hysterically.

[Repeat for Tuesday and Wednesday, subbing in the appropriate finals]

The Tricks to Mastering Vocabulary Lists

A patriarchal friendAcquiscental. Hombolyph. Trinomianist. Notice a pattern? All of these words look like they could be on your next vocabulary list in your English/History/Advanced Vocabulary Skills/Super Advanced Vocabulary Skills class.

Coincidentally, none of these words are actually words. They just look like it. Which, in my opinion, is similar to any vocab list your teacher gives you. I mean, patriarchal? I bet the teachers just made up the definition on the spot.

This brings me to the first “trick:” run your vocabulary words through a dictionary. If they’re not in the dictionary, then write them on a piece of paper. At the end of the year, mail your teacher this paper along with a bunch of the assignment sheets you were given, highlighting the portion that says ‘DOUBLE CHECK ALL SPELLING AND GRAMMAR!’

But, let’s say, for instance, that you do have a few real words on your vocab list. The next trick is to look for obvious meanings. For example, let’s humor our teachers and pretend that patriarchal is a word. Just looking at, it seems like it means pa three arch al. Then, using a skill you learned in math, cancel out the a’s and reorder the letters, giving you three arch pal, or a friend who has a triple-jointed back.

Easy, isn’t it? Sort of. You see, that’s not what patriarchal actually means (that is, assuming it is a word). If it were this easy, it wouldn’t be on the vocab list. However, since you now know one of the things that patriarchal isn’t, your chances of guessing the correct answer have improved (albeit by a minimal amount. And by minimal, I mean smaller than the chances of your next math test being multiple choice multiplied by the probability that you wake up tomorrow before 3:00 PM).

Another trick to mastering vocab is to come up with an acrostic poem for the word. If you can use things that you like/are familiar to you, while also recalling the meaning, this is super helpful:

Awesome puppies
Rabid tarantulas
Awesome puppies
Rabid Iguanas
Hey, how genius was Iguanas? How many animals do you know that start with I?
Awesome Me
Literally, Patriarchal means: Patriarchal

See? There’s no way you’ll forget the meaning. Plus, it’s really easy. Assuming your vocab list has at least 10 words, each one averaging seven letters, then you only have to memorize 70 things. Less, really, if you make every ‘A’ awesome something.

But, suppose you don’t have my skill (it comes with practice) at this. What should you do? Yet another trick is to burn the definitions into your eyeballs.

While I’ve never actually had to resort to this (acrostic all the way, baby!), it is both simple in concept and in science. Remember when your parents told you not to look at the sun? Well, after you looked at the sun, the image, as you probably remember, would still be there after you blinked.

Although your vocab list is slightly less bright, it still reflects light. Therefore, if you can unblinkingly stare at your list of vocab for sixty hours straight right before the test, the definitions will still be visible for the first five seconds during the test.

These are all handy tools for mastering vocab lists. Unlike tools, though, these tricks are not useful for hammering nails, or screwing in screws, or bashing your alarm clock to bits. Honestly, these tricks might not even be helpful for memorizing vocab. However, they are helpful in procrastinating, which is a vital step to learning any vocab list.

Last year, we brought you “The Point of Marking Up a Book,” which deals with everything about marking up a book. Yes, everything, including how to judge people based on the way they mark up their books with sticky notes. Plus, it’s illustrated, with 4 pictures.

The Bubbles (at the Beginning of Standardized Tests) are Not Your Friend

You should figure out why you can't see this pictureIf you’ve ever taken a standardized test, then you know that there is one thing the prep books don’t prep you on. One thing the practice tests don’t practice. And one thing that the teachers never teach you.

And that one thing is: [dramatic pause]

[really dramatic pause]

[Dramatic pause with a capital ‘d’]

The bubbles.

Just saying the name gives me shivers.

You see, at the beginning of each standardized test, there are bubbles. Present on the front and back of the answer sheet, they must be completed before you can actually take the test. You think that that doesn’t sound awful? Read on.

The Personal Information

The first questions you will have to ‘answer’ deal with basic things, like your name. But it’s not that easy.

You see, it has to be last name, then first name, and then middle initial. Then, you have to fill out the right bubble for each letter under the letters in your name (bubbles from a-z are present). Then, you have to write a short essay about what your name means, if you have any nicknames, and your twitter handle.

Next, the proctor will mention that any personal information you put down will have to remain the same for all tests you take. That means that if you make a mistake on even one bubble, you will either be known as Hpil for the rest of your life or will have your subsequent tests tossed out (tests that you spent more time studying for than the total time you’ve spent asleep for your entire life) because of the discrepancy. That’s what I call pressure.

Moving on, the test will ask you for even more personally identifying information. They want your address. Your school. Your gender. Grade. Date. Fingerprints. Dental records.

Take any joke about identity scams, and it always will end with “…and your social security number.” Well, they want your social security number. And I’m not joking. I usually just take my neighbor’s, who usually took his neighbor’s, who took the number from the guy in front of him, and so on, so that the entire classroom puts down the social security number of the guy in the front-left corner. And that guy just put down his birthday.

The Unpredictable Survey Questions

At least, with the personal information questions, you know the answers. That isn’t true with the next batch of questions.

First, they’ll ask about your parents: level of education of each, the type of degree each has, what each had for breakfast, etc. There will be a bubble for each answer, including a bubble for each type of breakfast food. You have no idea how many bubbles that is.

Then, they will want to know information about you in regards to the test.

Why are you taking the test?
Answers include: because your teacher told you to, because you want college credit, because you want to demonstrate your ability, or because you are insane and enjoy studying upwards of 200 hours a week*.

How did you prepare for the test?
Answers for this one include: you took a prep class, you took a class for it at school, you studied 200 hours a week, or you sacrificed your calculator to the omnipotent College Board celestial being.

Finally, they will ask questions that the lawyers wrote.

For example: By checking the box below, you grant College Board, and all of its affiliates, a royalty-free license to republish any of your submitted work without personally identifying information for educational purposes, as well as allowing College Board to steal your social security number and name, not to mention what your parents had for breakfast, for educational and statistical purposes in addition to making a lot of money on the black market. (If you do not check the box below, we will do all that anyway henceforth, so you might as well check the box).

*There aren’t actually 200 hours in a week. That’s how much you were studying.

The Tempo

During all these questions, you will be instructed when to move on. The proctor for the test can only tell you to move on once everyone has finished. That means you have to wait while Aramanthurson Queesleberry-Smith bubbles in his entire name until you can even start bubbling in the date.

Sure, you could go on and hope you don’t get caught. But if you get caught, who knows what the proctor will do. They’ve already drilled holes in the whiteboard in the back of the room using only their eyes. And they have sparks coming from their hair.

What this means for you in the long run, though, is that not only are you stressing about each answer that you bubble, from grade level to address, you spend an insanely long time in this state of anxiety. On average, this bubbling takes three to eight hours, just for one test.

They do that on purpose, of course. This way, by the time you actually take the test, you are so brain-dead that you’ve forgotten all the information you studied. Meaning you fail, or, at best, pass with the lowest possible score, a score so disgraceful that many college-admissions officers burn your application on sight and then atomize the ashes.

So, while you already knew that standardized tests are worse than eating a brussel-sprout spinach green-bean mayonnaise hot pepper casserole that has been reheated in the microwave so many times that it glows, you are now also familiar with the bubbles. And these bubbles, unlike the innocent soap-wands of your childhood so long forgotten it might as well have been a lecture in history class, are NOT your friend.

Last year we brought you “The Problems and Uses of Trust Falls,” which is all about AP tests as well. No, actually, it’s about trust falls. To quote one commenter, it’s “funny as hell.” You should definitely check it out.