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What Students Say In Discussion Section V. What They Really Mean

Anything to avoid an F

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Comment: “I just want to build on something Karen said.”

Translation: My friends threw all my textbooks out the window during a party last weekend, but I’m not going to let that stop me from getting some participation points. Also, I have a thesaurus under the table that I’m going to use to slightly change all the adjectives Karen used in her comment to repackage it as my own.

Comment: "I mean, as a highly educated man of his times, Chaucer would undeniably have had a thorough command of Latin. Thus, the fact that this phrase is reminiscent of an alternate verb tense hints at the presence of a relevant secondary meaning.”

Translation: I went to an expensive prep school and I want you to know.

Comment: “Can you rephrase the question?”

Translation: Man, look at all those people out the window! There’s, like, dozens of them. Walking around, talking, buying food … Why are all the Mexican food carts on the same street, anyway? Isn’t that bad for business? That’s odd; the constant murmur in the classroom has stopped. Everyone is looking at me. Oh shit! The professor must have asked me a question. Come on, Evan, think! Figure out a way to stall!

Comment: “Chaucer is obviously a genius.”

Translation: I did the reading, but I didn’t understand it because my puny brain is unable to comprehend anything other than intellectual conformity and hero-worship.

Comment: “I really liked the poem.”

Translation: I went to a toga party last night and woke up this morning with a headache that made me feel like I was giving birth out of my skull. I'm amazed I can string a sentence together.

Comment: “I didn’t like the poem at all.”

Translation: I am possibly the only person in the class who actually did the assignment. I found it uninteresting and possibly pretentious, and I refuse to pretend otherwise. Unfortunately, I know that this will just result in someone else shooting down my comment successfully because, if the professor assigned this poem, he definitely thinks it is God’s gift to mankind.

Comment: “Despite everything you just said, I still think the heart of this piece lies in the opening passage."

Translation: I started reading, but I only got to the first passage. At that point, my favorite show came on, and a pretty good show followed it, so naturally I had to watch that too. This pattern continued for the next six hours. Fortunately, television stops getting good around 3 a.m., when the late-night comedy shows end and you start getting things like “Who Wants to Date a Bi-polar Comedian” and infomercials for pillows. So I picked up the book again, reread the first passage, and then I realized I didn’t have to read further since I was already better-prepared for section than most of my classmates.

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