BERKELEY'S NEWS • SEPTEMBER 26, 2022

5 go-to responses when cold-called in class

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APRIL 11, 2013

We’ve all been there. Instead of finishing your reading last night, you let your roommate talk you into watching multiple episodes of “Homeland” and now you’re in class, sweating balls hoping you won’t be picked to explain the meaning of the median voter theorem. Even though you keep your eyes nailed to the ground and curl up into a fetal position in your chair, the professor’s laser-beam eye falls on you (because somehow professors can just smell fear). What to do? The Clog’s compiled a list of responses in the case you get cold-called in class!

1. BS

The classic. The art of bullshit responses seriously needs a Norton Anthology volume of its own. This involves being as vague as humanly possible and using big words that you don’t actually understand.

2. Pretend you’re in the wrong class

Something like, “Whoa, wait a minute, is this a history class? I’m supposed to be in Geophysics 20,” ought to do it. Using this line might get progressively trickier the further you are into the semester — especially if you’re in a seminar of 10 people and have already submitted several papers for the class.

3. Start speaking another language

Begin gesturing wildly and speaking another language (if you only know one, gibberish will have to do). Hopefully the professor will accept that as an answer. Also, doing some research on the professor’s language skills would probably come in handy in case it turns out that French is actually their mother tongue.

4. Create a distraction

As you’re desperately trying to come up with something to say, perhaps begin discreetly emptying your water bottle on the row in front of you or cough really loudly as if you’re choking on something. If you’re really ambitious, you might want to consider bringing in a mouse to let loose, or some other animal likely to cause a commotion (nothing that can actually, like, bite people though).

5. Say your water just broke and run out

Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Contact Corinne Platten at 

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APRIL 11, 2013