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"Dear Gaurav,

“Dear Gaurav,

What techniques can I use to get access to my professor after class so I can ask him a question – I can’t seem to get past those aggressive pit divers.

Aaaah yes, those learning leeches. I do not like them one bit. They’re like intellectual chimpanzees that accost the professor like an 18 year old virgin at a prom party (profs, I’m not calling you that, it’s just an analogy). You need to bring yourself down to their level.

Your tactics must be as disgraceful as these professor parasites’. Down to their seedy level I’m afraid, it’s the only real way to get past them in the pit and be accepted as one of them rather than a competing outsider.

Tactic 1: Laughter in a box.
Whenever the prof cracks a joke, laugh like a madman in a dentist’s chair. Go nuts. Make sure it is loud. A little eye contact later, he/she will be first to grab you after class, to relive the moment of his/her funny joke with you.

Tactic 2: Clear the mists of confusion.
At 9.59:30 am put your clarifying card up, no matter what is going on in class, just put it up. In the middle of a prof summary or a guest speech being webcast, just ask it. It will have to be put off til after class and then you’re in. If well executed, tactic 1 & 2 together make a lethal combo – clarifying a ‘great’ prof joke.

Tactic 3: Obvious call for attention.
In the midst of an absolutely tangential ramble (always my favourite type of comment), mutter the immortal words, “but I don’t want to derail the conversation, prof. I am happy to take this offline”. Basically outright asking for private time, flirty, unselfish and blatant, a winner from the word go.

Tactic 4: Tell him he’s doing his job wrong.
There are only one breed of people in class that are more shameless than the pit divers. They are the ones that precede their comment with “Prof, there is one other thing that must go on the board alongside the other issues you have there”. It’s the same as saying, “Normally my comments are so poo’ey that you don’t even go near the board, but because I am the only one in this room that thinks the highest accolade a comment can receive is its immortal documentation on the Aldrich chalkboards, I will pre-warn you that you must put this comment up on the boards.” The prof is of course too polite not to obey and up goes your low grade comment. Anyway, what this does do in your favour, is allow you to bypass the pit divers immediately after class to re-discuss that very point, a common love you and the prof share – your comment.

[Warning: this one is likely to backfire 99% of the time. Sure you make it to the pit, but at the cost of a 3 in the course thus derailing the original intention of pit diving.]

Tactic 5: Details.
Time to find out the name of their dog, their work-out schedule and where their parents live. Y’know the classic text book stalking stuff. Simply drop a few personal prof details as you pass him on your way into class, take your seat and smirk. So scared that you are stalking him/her, the prof will wonder how on earth you knew that and what else you know and will approach you after class. Job done.

Tactic 6: Desperate ludicrous shenanigans.
If all else fails, resort to clambering over the desks to be the first one down there, although the pit divers already have this SWAT move perfected. Alternatively, grab the squeegee off the board cleaners and bound into the middle of the circle, waving it around. It will surely distract some and create an opening. Finally, joke about having dinner with the prof. They will be so scared that you are serious and that they will be reprimanded for breaching some unspoken dating rule, they will give you every undue attention straight after class.

Please be careful, pit diving is an affliction. One through which you become lowest in the food chain. That says a lot at this place.

Gaurav

Ps. Profs, 5 words of advice – “Get the hell outta there”. I now fear for your safety.

March 10, 2003
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