LETTERS FROM THE EDITOR: Clueless? Talk to ROSS

by Ruthie Kelly

Ruthie Kelly, Editor in Chief

Blackboard is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing, because you can e-mail everyone in the whole class if you have a question, which is really convenient. But it’s also a curse, because everyone can e-mail the whole class if he or she has a question, which is really inconvenient.

Ever since midterms began, my inbox has been peppered with inquiries, equal parts desperate, obvious and horrifically punctuated.

“how do i do the assignment due 2moro, im confused”

“where in the book does it talk about gene mutation”

“whats the answer 2 numb 13 on the take-home mid term”

“which scantron do i need 4 the test”

Most students don’t abuse Blackboard in this way, and only the most oblivious students issue questions such as those showcased above. I’ve been here much longer than I should have, so I can confirm that this has been happening for years. But our classes are even more over-enrolled than usual, and even the smaller lectures have an irritating ratio of oblivious students. So, on behalf of everyone else, I am making a public service announcement of the following guidelines.

Before you mass e-mail everyone in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to pass that scary midterm, please make sure you have done the following and thus, not wasted the rest of our time.

Captain Obvious suggests that confounded students:

1. Check with ROSS — short for “Read Our Syllabus, Stupid.” (Hat tip, Dr. Hank Johnston of the sociology department.) 99 percent of the questions flooding my inbox are answered on the syllabus.

2. Come to class and be conscious — and not watching porn on your laptop — for at least 25 percent of the time. Enough to read what the professor puts on the projector, at least. Pause Netflix, take a break from your Facebook chat, whatever you have to do.

3. In the absence of No. 2, open up the PowerPoint presentation your professor provides, hit Ctrl+F (Apple+F for you Mac users) and search for the term you want. See? You don’t even need to look through the whole PowerPoint.

4. Flip through the assigned chapters in your textbook and read the headings and bolded vocabulary terms. Yeah, you should read the whole thing, but if you can’t check out the bolded terms yourself, you shouldn’t be in college. Actually, if you refuse to read period, you probably shouldn’t be in college. College is not made for reluctant readers.

5. Or, in the absence of No. 4, look in the index in the back of the book. Which should be alphabetized, and if you’re not sure how to use that, you also probably shouldn’t be in college.

6. Use Wikipedia or Google. No, you’re not supposed to use the former for research papers, but there’s no reason not to for studying. In fact, I’ve found Wikipedia often has better explanations of the trickier concepts professors cover than the professors themselves. (Most of them speak in professor-ese, and aren’t fluent in undergraduate anymore.)

Any student who ignores these guidelines does so at his or her own peril. Because it’s getting to the point where my irritation is very likely to awaken my latent pyrokinetic abilities, and I don’t want to be responsible for accidentally setting clueless questioners on fire with my terrifying mind powers.

Of course, the students who need to know this information are not likely to read this many words in a row anyway. But a girl can dream.

—Ruthie Kelly is a journalism and political science super-duper senior who will graduate when she feels like it, thank you.

—The opinion of this column does not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Aztec.