daily californian logo


Take a look at our 2022 midterm elections special issue!

Spice up your assignments, Daily Clog style

article image


We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

OCTOBER 14, 2014

We at the Daily Clog are issuing a challenge to you all: In the spirit of scholastic inquiry, we urge you to seek out ways to spice up an otherwise mundane assignment. Add some real spark to a placid paper, presentation or problem set. Yes, we know it’s allergy season, and the tragic fact that it also coincides with midterm season is proof enough there is no altruistic being out there to watch over you. But as you’re disrupting your roommates with your incessant sniffling, take a moment to think about ways to add some real intrigue to your work.

Need some ideas? Don’t fret. We have all the tips necessary to help you go from zero to 83, real quick — we aren’t as confident as Drake. On a final note, don’t let something as silly as self-respect hold you back! You lost that the first time you strolled into class late in your polka-dot pajamas while clinging to your coffee cup like a baby to its mother’s bosom.

1. Papers 

quill pen, Clog, Farooqui

If your professors graded – haha that’s what GSIs are for – based on letter font, you’d still fail cause you are lame and only use Times New Roman or whatever the hell the standard is for Macs — it’s Helvetica. Let’s be real for a second. Switching to a cooler font such as Impact to underscore important points or Comic Sans when you #dgaf is an alright first step. But you’ll need to do more to impress your teachers and us.

Maybe add some subtlety — how about leaving a coded message within your essay? Try making a message out of the first words in each paragraph in order to implant an idea in the reader’s mind. “Ignore the lack of evidence,” or even, “You are reading this too hard,” could provide quite a twist for your reader. You could even take the prerogative to leave faint messages in the margins of your work. Try reducing the font color to just a shade darker than white and writing things like, “Good God, this is fantastic!” Your professor may read it without noticing and find him or herself oddly pleased with your otherwise shoddily strung-together group of words.

2. PowerPoints


Presentations allow you a lot of flexibility to spice things up, so take advantage of that. For instance, one could replace the basic bullet point on a slide presentation with, say, cats. Everyone loves a cute kitty, except that one allergic kid in your first grade class who no one wanted to sit next to. … And we all know he doesn’t count as a person anyways. The bald eagle is another good animal to go with, and it can add some real patriotism to your slides — “Amurika woo!!” You could even have your slide background incorporate U.S. symbols such as apple pie, baseball and childhood obesity. If that doesn’t suit you, perhaps try revealing your inner artist. Why not write all of the notes on your slides in haiku form?

Take this example for a slide on Germany from WWII:

Germany invades


Especially France 🙁

Here’s a useful tip to keep in mind: If you think your slide transitions would not be out of place on a Jumbotron, skip it. You know who likes overly creative slide transitions? Helicopter parents and people who drink Red Bull in the morning.

3. Oral presentations 

Bibi at UN, Clog, Farooqui
Looks just like the real thing

Maybe you are giving an oral presentation, at which point you lack the aid of a trusty PowerPoint slide. There isn’t a whole lot you can do here besides gesticulate excessively or impersonate Bill Clinton: “I did not have textual relations with that woman!” Rephrasing famous quotes can be a real attention grabber.

Maybe your oratory is not the most eloquent. Try bringing props. How about the next time you give a speech, you bring signs to emphasis your points. An applause sign is sure to garner just that or create an awkward silence that allows you to be heard more clearly. Benjamin Netanyahu — Bibi — at the United Nations is a noteworthy example of the usage of props during a high-level speech. If he can get away with that at the UN with only a minor international backlash, you can do it during that class you took to fill a breadth.

4. Problem Sets 

math, Clog, Farooqui
Clearly not an English major either

It’s an old trope that science and math are lost on the creative types, but you’re about to prove them all wrong. Got a dull set of questions to solve? We’ve got ways to put the life back into your life science assignments.

Tip 1: If asked to write a proof for an identity, leave your professor the phrase, “the proof is in the pudding,” with an arrow over to a finely sketched image of pudding with the final step inside. Alright, maybe you take yourself to seriously to do that, but not too too seriously. In that case, find a question you don’t want to or can’t solve on the problem set and fill in the space with the lyrics to Ariana Grande’s “Problem:” “… I got one less problem without ya.”

We know what you’re thinking. These are all both very reasonable and practical suggestions that you will surely implement in your assignments. But we at the Daily Clog urge you to go above and beyond our suggestions. Fortune favors the bold, so type your whole essay in bold font to soak up as much fortune as possible. In conclusion, seize this opportunity before you, and accept our challenge!

Have you ever bedazzled your assignments or spiced them up in some other way? Tweet us a photo @thedailyclog.

Image sources: Frits Ahlefeldt-LaurvigDigitalParadoxrussell daviesmpeakeSean MacEntee, under Creative Commons

Contact Ismael Farooqui at [email protected].

OCTOBER 14, 2014