How to Conquer the Cycle of Death


What follows is a nifty ten-step program outlining how to conquer the Cycle of Death. "What," you ask, "is the Cycle of Death?" Sadly, I regret to inform you that if you are a college student you are in fact already aware of the Cycle of Death. The Cycle has four basic steps:

1) You are assigned homework in a class.
2) You fail to do the homework (which is required and important) on time.
3) You skip the class to do your homework.
4) You miss the next assignment, assigned in the class that you skipped. Goto step 2.

You are no doubt grimacing in horror and consternation at having readily recognized the Cycle of Death. Perhaps you are even currently in the Cycle of Death, or even several Cycles. Well, fret no more! The Authoritative Guide to Conquering the Cycle of Death has arrived!

The basic idea in conquering the Cycle of Death is first in realizing that the Cycle cannot be conquered with logic. Because logic and rationalization is what is telling you to skip class:

CASE A - YOU ATTEND WITHOUT YOUR HOMEWORK: "Where is your homework?" asks the professor. "I do not have it done," you say piteously. "Why not?" asks the professor. "My life is horrible," you say piteously. "Ha ha!" laughs the professor. "You have earned a zero."

CASE B - YOU SKIP: "Where is John?" asks the professor. Silence. Then, at the next class, by which of course you will have completed that initial homework, he asks, "Do you have your homework from earlier?" "Yes," you say with a smile, handing it to him. "Here." "Where were you last class?" asks the professor. "I was sick," you can say piteously. Or, if outright lying pains your conscience, as it should: "I was away."

CASE B would be the logical choice. The only problem with it is that after the professor has been understanding and kind and accepted your late work, he will ask, "And where is your homework for today?" And this is only true for classes in which there is homework on something of a daily basis. If, on the other hand, you have not completed a long-term project, you are (pardon the expression) in a lot of trouble. Professors hate accepting excuses, regardless of legitimacy, for long-term projects.

The actual way to conquer the Cycle of Death is with psychology. The basic principle to understand is that your professor really wants you to turn something in. Unless he just plain doesn't care, but if that is the case, then you could just go to class without your homework. So, if you turn in a really sketchily-completed version of something, then OF YOUR OWN FREE WILL turn in a much better version after the due date, explaining that you had new understanding or insight or something, the professor will be so relieved to see that you have learned in his class and are taking a nearly extracurricular interest in it that he will very probably accept your assignment late. Attend class always, regardless of your homework's completion. But the key is to turn in your incomplete homework. That's where the key difference is.

Or, if you want something easier, here's a little trick that you can only safely do once per class: suppose you are in a psychology class and you have a paper due. Turn in a paper you wrote last semester from your English Composition class (but make sure to fix the date). Then, the next class (you have the homework by this time) when your professor asks you "What in the blue blazes is this?! You turned in a paper analyzing Willa Cather's use of first-person narrative! This was supposed to be a paper on Pavlov!" you can say, "Oh my goodness! I must have turned in my English Composition paper! THAT'S where it went! Gosh, I must have turned my Pavlov paper in for my English class! Can I run home really quick and print out another copy for you?" The professor will laugh with you at your own stupidity, because professors love laughing at stupidity. Besides, it will make him popular at meetings with other professors, since he will have another incredible story about his wayward pupils to share. He will allow you to "run home and print out another copy." Since you actually have the paper with you already, you can take advantage of this time to go get a quick snack. I recommend root beer floats.

I hope you can somehow use this to your advantage in conquering the Cycle of Death. Or at least take the recommendation about root beer floats to heart.The Compendium

© 1998-2021 Zach Bardon
Last modified 7.19.2019
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