Ways to avoid being called on in section

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Joshua Jordan/File

This late in the semester, most of us have only distant memories of actually doing the readings for our classes. That means when we go to section, we avoid eye contact with the GSI at all costs or risk being exposed as the poor student that you truly are. But sometimes avoiding eye contact isn’t enough to side step this fate. Using one of our methods, you can ensure that no one ever finds out how irresponsible you are.

Strike early

Usually, the first question in section is a gimme that is designed to get class started. Even if it’s not that easy, still try to answer it poorly. Volunteering a bad answer looks much better than being called on and giving a bad answer. Saying anything early on means you can relax with the knowledge that you probably won’t get called on for the remainder of the hour.

Sit beside people on their laptops/phones

If people around you appear distracted compared to you, the GSI will usually call on the more distracted person. So long as you don’t use your devices, you’ll always look like the more attentive student and avoid detection.

Sit in front

When GSIs call people out, they often choose from the back row because they think those students participate less and are less likely to know the answer. By sitting in front, you can disguise yourself as a good student who already has a grasp on the course material. GSIs looking to expose a slacking student will pass right over you.

Don’t go

The easiest way to avoid being called on is to fully accept your role as a terrible student by failing to show up in the first place.

Dress like and mimic your GSI

An extremely effective way to escape the gaze of GSIs is to convince them that you aren’t even a person. By dressing normally for attendance, then changing into the exact apparel of your GSI, you can reflect their exact motions to convince them that you’re actually just a mirror. Mirrors can’t answer questions, so you’ll be in the clear.

Dress like the person who participates the most

Another idea that requires dressing up, this concept involves dressing like someone who always participates. As long as you sit on the opposite side of the room from that person, you can create the illusion that you’ve already spoken plenty. Also, make sure that student doesn’t see you.

Appear injured

If a GSI can tell that you probably didn’t do the readings, but knows you have a good excuse, they’ll choose someone else to call on. If it looks like you’ve recently broken a bone or been in some sort of accident, any GSI with a sense of pity won’t call on you. Clearly, you’ve already been through enough over the past few days.

As the semester comes to a close and the holidays grow closer, the drive to be a devoted student inevitably fades. These tactics will make sure that your vanishing work ethic won’t be reflected in your participation grade.

Contact Ryan Melvin at [email protected].