4 Ways to Stay Awake in Class

(as always, click to zoom)

(as always, click to zoom)

“Similarly to the amplitude of sinusoidal wave, the obtuse transmutation of the radius/diameter ration is…” And, boom. You’re asleep.

It’s a common occurrence. Depending on the teacher, anywhere from 1 to 90 students may fall asleep in any one class. (No, classes don’t have more than 30 or so students in them, but, depending on the teacher, they may accidentally put entire adjacent classes to sleep as well).

Falling asleep in class is obviously caused by the fact that you don’t get enough sleep. But getting enough sleep is an unrealistic expectation; nobody does that nowadays, not even the Pope—he retired to try to get more sleep. Heck, if we all got enough sleep, we probably would have invented a vaccine for Bieber fever by now.

So, since you’re not likely to get any more sleep, you’ve got to work on staying awake in class. When you fall asleep in class, you usually miss out on vital information that you’ll never need to know to get a job in the future, such as the cosine of a metaphor. Thus, in an effort to help you stay awake, I’ve compiled a few tips that I’ve personally tested*.

*Just not necessarily outside of my imagination.

Shout Embarrassing Things

Adrenaline is great. It keeps us alert when we are facing a terrible situation, such as the possibility that our phone just died. It keeps us from relaxing the night before a big test on the social history of the 9000s, B.C.E. It even gives us a friendly ol’ heart attack when we can’t find our English homework in our binder immediately.

So, why not harness the power of adrenaline to stay awake in class? Train yourself to shout embarrassing things, like “I haven’t brushed my teeth in three months!” or “Does anyone else remember the time I peed myself in fourth grade?” Then, as soon your brain realizes what you just said in your tiredness-induced state, the sheer adrenaline should shake you awake.

Exercise

Another way to get your adrenaline pumping is to exercise. After all, if you’re like me, you don’t usually fall asleep while playing sports. Heck, the only people who do are usually curling athletes, and when that happens—although I didn’t think it was possible—the sport becomes even more hilarious.

As soon as you feel those eyes droop, start exercising. Mind you, you’re probably sitting in a desk, so you’re going to have to get creative. Pick up your textbooks and do some bicep curls. Lift up your legs and start frantically waving them. Take your hand and jog laps around your desktop with your fingers. Sure, people might begin to think you’re crazy, but hey, nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like a straitjacket.

Use a Water Bottle

Water bottles are terrific when it comes to staying awake in class, and you can use them many ways. If it’s the last class of the day, you can just drench yourself in water and you should be uncomfortable enough that you can’t fall asleep. As a bonus, this can make it look like you wet your pants, which is embarrassing enough to kick in some adrenaline* as well.

If it is the beginning of the day, you can just sip some water—but don’t swallow it. Instead, keep it in your cheeks for as long as possible. This causes you to focus on the water in your mouth, which in turn keeps you awake.

Of course, you may look and feel like a beached whale, and you can’t talk for the rest of class, but at least you are awake. Once you get good at this, though, you may find that you still fall asleep—since you have to focus on it less—so at that point it’s a good idea to invest in a live goldfish or two to make things more interesting.

Finally, if you get a sports water bottle with the nozzle top where you must squeeze/suck the bottle to get water out, you can strategically position it on your desk so that when your head falls forward asleep, you land on the bottle and it squirts you in the neck, splashing you awake. The only risk is that if you’re incredibly tired, you might somehow drown, but that’s pretty rare.

*I am not an actual doctor or biologist. I have no idea if adrenaline is the right term to keep using. As far as I know, adrenaline is what causes puberty, adrenaline is what leaks out of your veins when you get a paper cut, and cancer of the adrenaline is the #1 leading cause of death in teens ages 20-29.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Even though our elementary school teachers really emphasized this technique, I’ve never had to stop, drop, and roll after catching on fire. Thankfully, I’ve never actually caught on fire. Of course, I’ve also never had to write in cursive, nor go to Sally’s house and ask to borrow eight cookies, leaving her with three cookies left, so go figure.

The point is, nobody has any idea if stop, drop, and roll actually works. Have you ever actually seen someone use this technique effectively? In all honesty, it sounds like the sort of thing I would come up with on this blog. For all we know, stopping, dropping, and rolling only makes sure you’re evenly roasted like some sort of grotesque hot-dog. I mean, if you’re trying to put a fire out, it’s probably harder to aim the hose at the frantic person rolling around spastically on the lawn than it is to spray a person standing still.

But since nobody knows if stop, drop, and roll actually works, you can pretend you’re on fire in class. By the time you’ve stopped rolling around, the “fire” will be put out, so your teacher can’t definitively say whether or not you had been on fire in the first place. And, in dropping and rolling, you’ve probably gotten enough exercise/adrenaline/painful injuries that you can stay awake for the rest of class.

This technique works especially well in classes that actually deal with fire, such as chemistry class, cooking class, or study hall.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you’ll find success with at least one of these techniques. And, hopefully, you won’t be expelled for being schizophrenic or mentally unstable, either. After all, you know what they say: sleep is the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Yes, that means that humans didn’t actually need to sleep until after we invented sliced bread. It’s some odd medical relationship that has to do with the adrenaline of slicing bread, I think).

Yes, I haven’t posted in over a week. Sorry about that, but it’s hard to be funny on less sleep than you have fingers on one hand. Nonetheless, you can always just pretend that it’s 2012 and go read last April’s posts. Of course, if you need something to take up your time, you could work on suing your school to pay for college, as detailed in School Desks: 3 Lawsuits Waiting to Happen (Or, How to Pay for College), published this time last year.

As a heads up, there may be a few changes (one minor, and one semi-major) coming up in the next few months, so stay tuned.

The 3 Awful Types of Science Lab Questions

ScienceLabFunnyOf all of your school classes, science is perhaps the most unusual. And when I say unusual, I’m not talking about the fact that your science teacher lives in an environmentally conscious aluminum foil teepee and bikes to work, nor the fact that it’s the only class where you don’t fail if your lab sheet “burned up in a fire.”

No, what’s most unusual about science class is the fact that half of the class consists of “Labs.”

Now, maybe you don’t think that labs are all that unusual. But think about it for a second.

I mean, what if you had a lab in history class? “Okay, guys, we’re gonna go to the back of the room and drop a bunch of multi-ethnic nationalistic mice in the plexiglass box to simulate the Serbian ‘powder-keg’ of Europe. Make sure you keep your safety goggles on the whole time.”

Or, how about a lab in English class? Step 1: add five metaphors or similes to your first paragraph. Step 2: Add a personification to the best metaphor or simile. Step 3: Analyze the result; what does it mean if the clouds were “like angry opossums instagramming pictures of gas prices and breakfast foods?”

Now do you think labs are pretty unusual? At least they just expect you to memorize the already-proven laws in math class. With labs, you’re expected to prove theories that have already been formulated and then memorize them.

But the worst part of labs is not that they might be pointless, because if you’re burning and exploding things at least you’re not falling asleep in class (hopefully). No, the worst part of labs is their somewhat awkward procedures and their unfocused, predictable questions.

And these analysis questions can seem unanswerable.

The Simple Questions

Some lab questions are incredibly obvious. For example, “What happened when you held the ice cube over the Bunsen burner?”

Well, I know what you’re thinking: it melted. Duh. Which is close enough to what your average teenager might think, at first.

But in class, the thought process looks more like this: it melted. Duh…duh, right? Uhhh, hello? Duh? Uh…that’s too obvious “Hey, guys, look at #1. You put that it melted, right?” “Well, yeah, I think so, but no duh. We could have done that without doing the lab. There must be something else that missed.” “Yeah, okay, I figured.” Hmmm…well, I’ll just say that it melted in a blue flash and then some purple smoke appeared…in the shape of the ice cube…yeah. That’s probably what the right answer is.

Sure, you laugh now, but why would anybody ask—on a science lab sheet that is intended for teenagers who may not be smart, but certainly aren’t clueless—what happens when you put AN ICE CUBE ABOVE A FLAME? You’d only ask it if the answer wasn’t obvious, right?

Well, that rule applies for most classes, but not in science class. Recall the purpose of science labs: to demonstrate things we already know. Thus, the simple questions are really that simple. Unfortunately, it takes most of us two years to figure that out, leading to some hilarious, albeit incorrect, answers.

The Difficult Questions

When a question isn’t obvious, and doesn’t become apparent in the lab, that’s probably because it is a poorly written question. After all, many science teachers focused on science, and not English, in high school. Of course, scrawling out, “This is a poorly written question and I’m not going to answer it because I don’t know ‘What happened when you brought the copper rod near the beaker and the solution and the beaker rod react solution to bubbles rod the?’” is not usually an acceptable answer, even if it is the correct one.

So, again, this ties into the idea that labs are to demonstrate, not to discover, scientific properties. If you can figure out the property being demonstrated, you can usually write something that makes a bit of sense.

But since that involves thinking, I suggest that you simply repeat as much as the question as possible, while throwing in a yes/no answer. For instance, you might end up with: “Yes, the rod, when brought near the beaker and the solution and the beaker rod, react solution to bubbles rod the.”

The Worst Question

It’s on every lab. The answer constantly changes. It’s perhaps the most difficult question on the entire lab. Most other people won’t have any idea. What is it? Simply: “What is the date?”

Actually, just kidding. While figuring out the date is usually pretty tough, you can always just guess, as most teachers won’t grade you down for putting the “54th of June, 1410.”

No, the actual worst question is: “What are some possible sources of error in this lab?”

This question can only end badly. You can blame yourself, and make it look like you’re incompetent: “Well, I dropped some of the uranium and it made a small, smoking crater in the wire, but at least the ammeter was unharmed.” If your teacher sees that, you’ll definitely be marked down for not being careful.

At the same time, you can’t blame your teacher or school: “The major problems came from the equipment, which was made in 1922. After the measuring needle on the voltmeter crumbled into dust, we sort of had to guesstimate the position it would have been on the dial.” Your teacher’s response will be that money is tight and that you should be grateful you even get to do labs. Also, you’ll lose points for being ungrateful and for “guesstimating” incorrectly.

If you’re a true teenager, you’ve probably already figured out that the correct way to answer this question is to blame your lab partner. “My lab partner dropped the uranium on the voltmeter and completely ruined the entire lab process. The few and slightly erroneous results were only recorded after I made a valiant, heroic, and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to save the lab while also administering light first-aid to my partner, who’d been injured in the blast.” That’s an A+ answer.

So, when it comes to answering those science lab questions, you should now be able to “infer” the correct answers. You know what they always say: “Fake your way to an A!” And if you can’t quite manage that, then at least be gracious when you take the blame for totally ruining the labs of all six chemistry classes.

Dominate Those Awful Art Project Assignments

Trifoldfunny“Okay, class. Now that we’ve finished our lecture on the physiology of a pygmy Chihuahua, I’m going to ask you all to make some sort of artistic representation of your favorite human organ system. It needs to be 3-D, and it also needs to be stunningly beautiful. Also, it is due in seven minutes.”

You think that’s funny? You’re sick. That’s not funny—that’s just true. True, as in teachers nowadays seem to think that assigning sculptures, posters, or other creative projects is a good idea. True, as in yes these projects are actually due the next day. And true, as in there is no such thing as a pygmy Chihuahua.

Now, what’s wrong with art projects, you ask?

Artistic Skill

Art projects are insanely skewed towards those with any sense of artistic skill. All it takes is one Leonardo Van Gogh in your class, and boom, every other project looks bad. Rather than think that your project is good, as it is no better or worse than the rest of the projects, your teacher assumes thatDa Vinci’s project is the only ‘A’ worthy project, and that the entire rest of the class deserves a ‘C’.

No Educational Benefit

Sure, you learned something in the lecture, or from your textbook. But unless you can explain to me exactly how cutting out six green-paper borders helped you learn about the electron and proton, I think it is safe to assume that when doing an art project, you learn absolutely nothing.

Actually, that’s not true; you learn just how hard it is to cut straight lines when you are running on three hours of sleep. Maybe that should become some sort of sobriety test:
“Excuse me, sir, but you were swerving across two lanes. Can you please cut me a rectangle from this piece of caution tape?” “Sure.” “Oooh, I’m sorry, sir, that’s a parallelogram. Your angles are 91 degrees and 89 degrees. You were close, though. But I think I’m going to have to take you back to the station.”

Wastes Resources

I think most everyone believes that global warming is real by now. I mean, thanks to changing weather patterns, hurricanes have recently hit cities like New York, D.C., and Denver. So, let’s think about it: why should you just turn in a one-page paper, when you can waste upwards of 65 pages mounting, re-mounting, sculpting, folding, cutting, collage-ing, and constructing an art project with the same information?

But It’s Not Hopeless

Sure, art projects are awful, but if you repress your inner artist and simply take steps to create what’s proven to get an ‘A,’ your grade nor sleep need not take the hit.

Mounting Papers

The easiest way to make any art poster or display board look impressive is to layer more paper. To do this, you’ll need a glue stick, paper, more paper, another glue stick—because the first one will have dried out before you can get your paper together—and some more paper. Pick three colors that don’t give you a headache when you look at them together, and just stack them in an overlapping style. After all, this is how they present stuff in the corporate world, I hear. No wonder so many large companies go bankrupt.

Accenting

Mounting provides a nice foundation, but accenting is where you truly illustrate: “Look at me! I either have too much spare time, or drank six gallons of coffee at 2 AM as I finished this! Or both! Yaaaaaay!”

As you can probably tell from that description, accenting is generally seen on girls’ posters/projects, but not those of guys. So, if you’re male, your accents need to be incredibly masculine. Mud, smushed bugs, or exposed rusty chain-link fence bits work well.

Materials

Even if it’s only a poster, and not a sculpture or painting, the quality of your materials matters—often, it will make up for your lack of artistic skill. If you spend at least $500 per square-inch of your project, you should probably be okay. Or, if you don’t have a few grand to drop on your homework and would rather save it for college—which is crazy, because I’m sure this art project will be way more important to your life—you can always just use crayon. Then, just explain that crayon is symbolic of [mumble this part] and your teacher will be very impressed.

Sabotage

In some rare cases, you just won’t be able to compete with your classmates’ projects; maybe one of them read this blog and was already a good artist. In that case, you need to resort to sabotage (Warning: if they too read this blog, you’ll probably want to build a concrete bunker in to keep your project safe while you carry out your espionage. And if they have a concrete bunker too, well, hey, failing and then repeating a class isn’t so bad).

Since you don’t want to get caught, you should resort to stealth. Maybe you leave a leaking water bottle next to their project. Heck, maybe you accidentally trip and fall on it (untie your shoelaces. If you don’t have shoelaces, get some and just sort of throw them up in the air as you fall, exclaiming “Oh, no, I tripped over my laces!” Hopefully, no one will notice that you were wearing sandals. In February.)

No one will ever tell you that we need more art projects in non-art classes. If they do, pinch someone: yourself first, to see if you’re dreaming, and, if you aren’t, then pinch them, to get them to go away before they can officially assign an art project. In the 97% of cases when that won’t work, though, at least now you know how to complete the art project better than Salvador Dali. When he was in high school, he just turned in dead plants.

If you think your project is still lacking, you might want to check out “How to Use Clip Art to Make Your Projects Better,” published this time last year. Unless you’re Bill Gates, in which case, don’t read that one.

The 5 Real Reasons to Take AP Classes

Funny Ap textbookSure, we’ve all heard the arguments for AP classes. They can get you college credit. They can offer you a more in-depth coverage of a subject. They will instantly turn you into Albert Einstein. The list goes on and on.

But while these arguments are true, they are not the main reasons you should take AP classes. I mean, get college credit before college? Please. That’s what junior high school was for. You need a break before entering college, not more college credits. Heck, college is so cheap nowadays there’s absolutely no reason why shouldn’t be able to afford at least a few days of college and pick up some credits.

As a brilliant investigative reporter—because no one ever suspects the gum-chewing, half asleep, walking into walls, grammatically erroneous teen to be anything but a source of comedic relief—I can tell you that there are actually other, better reasons to take AP classes.

1. Get Less Sleep

Many studies have shown that teens need 8+ hours of sleep every night. These incredibly scientific studies argue that a lack of sleep leads to depression, anxiety disorders, and zombification of teens into stumbling green undead creatures.

But let me ask you something: when’s the last time anyone ever sponsored a study examining the consequences of getting enough sleep every night? It’s never happened, because people are too afraid to find out what getting enough sleep could mean. For all we know, sleep can cause death, just like it’s been found that various amounts of sitting, standing, running, swimming, breathing, and eating can. Obviously, no one knows for sure, but to make sure you’re not getting too much sleep, you should definitely take some AP classes.

2. Learn More Useless Information

The purpose of our education system is to teach us stuff that we’ll never need to know, so that when we finally need to know something, we will have spent so much time Googling useless stuff that the useful stuff will be easy to find on Google. And, since education is often lauded for its effects on knowledge, the economy, politics, and social mobility, one can only conclude that more education is a good thing.

With that in mind, why take regular US History, when there’s an AP US History? It is clearly better to stay up until 3:00 AM learning about the Women’s Christian Temperance Union than it is to stay up until only 5:00 PM. Sure, in regular US History you might know the names of the leaders of the movement, but in AP US History you’ll learn so much that you can tell people whether the leaders preferred hot dogs or hamburgers.

3. It’s An Easy A

Colleges prefer A’s to B’s, or C’s, or even, believe it or not, D’s. But as the number of applicants to various colleges have skyrocketed, college admissions departments have had to adjust by spending less time on each applicant (although the popular alternative being considered is simply moving college application deadlines to the spring of your 6th grade year, to give the admissions officers enough time to really assess your “diversity”).

So, currently, college admissions officers only quickly glance at your transcript, trying to mentally tally the number of A’s. What this means is that the more AP classes you have, the more capital “A”s you have on that transcript. Thus, even taking an AP class adds an A to your transcript. And if it’s, say, AP Computer Science A, that’s even better. (For this reason, I’d recommend avoiding AP Calculus BC. Colleges hate C’s).

4. Awful Tests

Thanks to modern tech advancements, many of the old hardships of your parents’ days are over. You no longer need to walk five miles to school in the freezing cold with a warm potato in your pocket for lunch and warmth. You no longer need to sweep the school house or kill snakes on the playground. Heck, you don’t even have to churn butter!

Sure, this is mostly a good thing, but think about it: what are you going to tell your kids? Currently, your parents can make you grateful you have to wake up at 4:00 AM to catch the bus just by telling you about their own past.

Well, AP classes solve this problem. So, in the future, when you have kids, you can mention that you used to be locked in a room for four hours and forced to write essays about events that happened 300 years ago, by hand.

5. Never Worry about Social Status

It’s no secret that high school is a time of shifting social relationships, which can get pretty stressful. The best way to avoid this stress is simply to avoid people. And, the best way to avoid people is to take AP classes.

With AP classes, you’ll have 28 hours of homework every night, ensuring that you don’t have time to hang out with friends. Thus, you’re less likely to be betrayed or hurt by your friends, since you don’t have any.

Overall, there’s really no reason not to take AP classes. Heck, I’ll bet that in fifteen years taking AP classes will do more for your high school status than playing on the varsity football team. But don’t wait: take the number of APs that you can handle, multiply it by five, and then take that many AP classes. You’ll be astounded at how much your life improves.