The Scenario: You’re in your 9am PSCI-069 recitation, and you haven’t done the readings, even though you were totally planning to do it this week. Just kidding. Who even does the readings? Try-hards, that’s who. Problem is, there’s this pesky little thing called “participation,” and you have to at least look like you prepared for this class. Don’t worry— we got you covered. Your TA will be 100% convinced that you didn’t just download those essays 5 minutes ago.
Tip 1: Refer to the person who spoke before you, to make it look like you’ve actually been listening throughout this entire discussion. Bonus points if you interrupted them in the middle of their sentence— you’re just that eager to contribute!
Example: I agree with Amy’s point about this topic being a very important issue. Just to build on that…
Tip 2: Use a lot of overly long and pretentious words to cover up the fact that you have no idea what is going on.
Example: We just have to look at this theory as a microcosm of everything that’s happening in the present day, where we just see this macrocosm of the relevant concepts that we’ve been discussing today. If we consolidate all these frameworks, apply them to the real world, and contextualize them within our own experiences, it’s obvious that the author clearly has a perspective that we should consider when constructing our own viewpoints.
Tip 3: Hastily pick out a line in the readings— any line will do. Then pick it to pieces. This will make it look like you paid a lot of attention to what you (did not) read.
Example: The essay says “This text is provided through the University of Pennsylvania’s library system for educational purposes.” I am of the opinion that this is a very crucial thing to mention, especially in light of our modern-day society. I appreciate that the author places so much emphasis on the importance of giving, the written word, methods of organization, and the functions of learning. Generosity is such a valuable quality, and books are the lifeblood of our learning. Systems are integral to the functioning of society, in which we all live. I would like to raise the question of what constitutes an “educational purpose”– what is a non-educational purpose? Can we really do anything that does not educate us? Do we not learn from every experience we have?
Tip 4: Say something controversial so you seem edgy and intellectual. You’re different, okay? You’re “not like other students.” Your TA will surely recognize this and give you full credit for participation.
Example: However, I do have to play devil’s advocate: who does the author want the University of Pennsylvania’s library system to provide for? People shouldn’t just be handed things, everyone needs to work hard to earn what they want in life. I definitely worked hard to be here today. We shouldn’t just wait for the University of Pennsylvania’s library system to provide for us, we should provide for ourselves. Sorry if that upsets anyone, I know how sensitive people can be in this “woke” era.
Tip 5: It literally doesn’t matter what we write here. You probably aren’t even reading this anymore.