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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

Don’t Do This!

by various red-faced Planet S writers
Published Thursday September 3, 05:20 pm
A quick compendium of back-to-school stupidity

Photo Credit: Illustration by Evgenia Mikhaylova

 Just like every year, for the last few weeks we’ve all been bombarded by back-to-school guides: articles, advertisements and more offering “helpful tips!” on how to navigate the minefield that is post-secondary education.

That’s all fine and good (well, at least sometimes...), but while students — especially noobs — are having their heads filled with what they should do, they should also definitely be thinking about what they shouldn’t do.

But how to figure out what those things are? Well, we’re here to help — thanks to our group of grown-up (hah! I mean, yup, totally...) writers, all of whom pulled off some big, cringe-inducing booboos in their student days.

One caveat: some of these things are sooo cringe-inducing that we’re totally allowing pseudonyms for this article. Think you can figure out which are under real names and which aren’t? Give it a try!

Oh, and again, just in case it’s not obvious: DON’T DO THESE THINGS! /Chris Kirkland



Coming from a small town to attend university in the big city at 17 can be a traumatic experience, as so many people in the big-land-based, far-flung-population province of Saskatchewan know only too well. My strategy to minimize the stress was keep doing the same things I was used to at my paternal home — and one of those things was to make sure that my clothes were ironed.

I can’t fully understand my obsession with ironed clothes, but there you have it. As a result, my parents paid a relative to iron my clothes every weekend. Consequently, for a full year, once a week I took a load of wrinkly clothes across town (a 45-minute commute) to my relative’s place, so I could wait for about three hours and then come back with my perfectly folded wardrobe.

It took me forever to realize the gigantic waste of time the procedure entailed, but eventually it dawned on me — and when it did, I felt like a complete tool.

On the upside, from that moment on, other small-town habits of mine also fell by the wayside: making my bed, attending church, going out only on weekends and eating a solid helping of veggies with every meal (okay, maybe those last two weren’t the best decisions). Heck, I don’t even own an iron now. /Jorge Ignacio Castillo



I had many a foible in my university days — like making the fatal mistake of trusting those unbelievably shifty, chronically faulty floppy disks (Does anyone else remember those things? Gawd they were designed by an evil person.) more than once. I’m so glad they’re obsolete.

One of my biggest snafus was in preparation for my last exam in my second year. While I was doing my final review (see how much of a responsible student I was?) the evening prior, I started to nod off, and in my sleepy stupor I set my alarm clock.

The exam was at 9 am, and I set my alarm for 8:15. (Since I lived on campus I was confident that was plenty of time.) I woke up feeling refreshed, thinking, “Wow, I woke up before my alarm!” I rolled over and the clock said 11:28 am. WHAAT!?

Disheveled and embarrassed, running faster than an Olympian, (okay, probs not), I arrived at my classroom. Thankfully my prof saw the sleep, terror and desperation in my eyes and let me do a make-up a few days later, after docking a few grade points of course.

Note: Have more than one alarm, and / or get a friend or family member to give a wake-up call. Oh, and don’t set your morning alarm for 8:15 pm. Sigh. /Kathy Gallant



This isn't so much a single embarrassing incident as it is a legacy of personal neglect of bathroom standards for many years. The U of S campus is a sprawling place, full of new complexes, historic buildings and underground hallways — and scattered everywhere among this labyrinth are lovely, majestic little facilities, lonely and just waiting to serve you for your evacuations.

Sadly, I ignored these treasures, instead almost always heading directly to the overcrowded bathrooms found within the most bustling areas of the campus. You know them: Those sopping bathrooms, with toilet paper scattered everywhere, unflushed toilets, overflowing garbages and someone in a stall blaring his iPod.

For far too long, I was bathroom-lazy. I held myself to a standard far too low, dragging myself into these bathrooms while not knowing what horrors awaited me. The results were predictably dismal: I once slipped in a bathroom puddle, and then spent the rest of my day hoping no one would notice my urine-soaked pant-leg. That was it.

University is hectic, and one needs a proper rest stop. Thus, I found a special bathroom, far away from the uncouth masses flying through to take a haphazard piss. It became more than just a bathroom — it was like a second home, a place to relax and recharge. I shan't give away my secret poop stop, but I will say this: Find your own, and exult in it. Don't settle for just any bathroom. /Nathan Raine


MY NAME IS... UM... ?

I spent most of my university career dividing my time between classes, working part-time to pay the bills and, well, spending the money that should’ve been paying the bills on more enjoyable things. As a result, it’s no surprise that one year I simply didn’t have enough money to pay for tuition — so instead of a university student-slash-part-time worker, I was simply a part time worker.

I quickly became pretty damn bored without any classes to suck at, so I offered to take one of my roommate’s classes on her behalf. My thought process, you ask? Well, I figured they’re not so diligent about the IDing, right, so who’s gonna know? I’ll pick up some new knowledge, and as long as I pass, my friend’ll be happy.

It was a small class, so we started out with introductions. I happily announced that I was Tara (“Teh-ra”), but once I learned there was going to be group work — and that could mean classmates calling my house and asking for the wrong (or right, when you get down to the technicalities of this ridiculous situation) person — I started correcting people, saying that it was pronounced “Tah-ra.”

I thought this was pretty smart, naturally. But one fellow student called me on it: “You said on the first day that your name was Teh-ra. I remember, because that’s my best friend’s name. How come your name is something else now?”

I totally can’t remember what I came up with to try and satisfy her on this very, very good question. I do remember that she remained suspicious, but as far as I can tell, never told anyone.

I got lucky. Don’t do what I did. /Candace Reggstrad



Back when I was a fourth-year Honours student, I have to admit I was pretty cocky — especially when it came to taking a 200-level (hah! Baby stuff!) History elective. Clearly, Prairie History was going to be a cakewalk for me. And as an added bonus, I met a fellow Amazon (tall chick) in the class who became a good friend.

We hit it off right away, and did all manner of fun, great stuff together. But one of those was more fun than great: We would sit beside each other in class and occasionally snicker and crack jokes about our earnest but dotty sessional lecturer.

I thought we were being subtle.

Then, I met with the sessional to discuss my term paper. At the end of our meeting, she said, “I sometimes see you and your friend talking in class. I’m just wondering, are you laughing at me?”

Who asks somebody that?

I thought I did a pretty good job of thinking on my feet. I said, “No, no! Sometimes your lectures bring up questions that we discuss. Like the day you were talking about the difference between productive and reproductive labour, and I whispered to her, ‘What would prostitution be?’”

She seemed satisfied with my response, and even admitted that was an interesting question. I thought I’d gotten away with it, and congratulated myself on my quick-thinking and brilliant response.

Until I got my final grade. Drat. /Noelle Chorney



I’m betting this blurb is gonna be a helluva lot longer than most of the rest of them, but the epic stupidity of this story requires a fair bit of explanation, so bear with me. (And hey, I dreamed up this story idea and assigned it, so I’ll do what I want — suck it up.)

After barely scraping through my first year of Arts and Science at the U of S due to laziness and excessive partying, I apparently decided to really double down on the idiocy in my second year — so much so that by Christmas break, I realized there was no chance I was going to pass any one of my five full-year classes. After all, I hadn’t even been to most of them more than once.

Ah well. Pull the plug, get at least a bit of money back, suffer no academic consequences and come back the wiser for next year, right?


When the last day (because why do it before then, right?) to drop full-year classes without academic penalty came around, I headed to the university to complete the task. Back in the Stone Ages of my undergrad career, you actually had to get a paper form to drop classes, fill it out and have it signed by the prof of every class you were ditching. I got four of the five in fairly short order (along with some hilariously embarrassing “who the hell are you?!?” looks from the profs), but couldn’t find the fifth — even though he was supposed to have office hours during the time I was stalking him. (The nerve! Making a commitment and not following through! Tsk, tsk.)

After checking twice (and waiting around his office door for almost 10 full minutes each time: just call me dedicated!), I decided to head to Louis’ Pub for a beer and come back later. That beer promptly became a few when I ran into some friends, and before I realized it I was sunk: Not only had I not gotten the final prof’s signature, the A & S admin. office was now closed, and the 80 per cent complete form was still in my pocket — meaning I hadn’t dropped any classes. Oops.

For the next few months, that meant lying to my parents (“Well yeah, the classes are tough and I’m not sure how I’ll do but I sure am trying!” Yeesh.), drinking my student loan money and generally being a useless boil on society’s ass.

Until, that is, my dad called at the end of April to casually ask how my finals had went. I was in the midst of my “tried really hard but it might be touch-and-go” spiel when he said “Well, they sent your marks to your permanent address, which happens to be here. And I happened to open them.”

Well, crap.

Those marks, of course, were five lines of “30 per-cent fail” — the lowest mark the university gives out, at least back then. As you can imagine, I was hoofed out of school directly, and soon enough had to return to my hometown to face some very displeased parental units.

After a couple years of pulling my shit together, I went back to university and things obviously went much better the second time around — but where’s the humour in that story? So I’ll just leave it at this: even if you screw up righteously, at least know when to pull the damn plug! /Shmris Shmirkland

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