7 Academic Hacks for Underachievers

It’s that time of year again: the time that you realize that your grades are universally hosed. Have you been skipping class to soak up the sun (and some alcohol)? Have you been eschewing your academic responsibilities because you have cooler things to do than get an education and provide for future you? If you’re worried about your grades, worry not. Pop an Adderall, put on some lingerie, and fire up Ferris Bueller, because we’ve got seven academic hacks for all you derelict underachievers. Some are much easier than you’d think.

  1. Pills

    Maybe you’re not an idiot. Maybe you’re flunking college because you have awful ADD (or its hyperactive cousin, ADHD). Whether you just need to stay awake for that extra three hours of cram time or you’ve got a bona fide upper addiction, taking stimulants (called “study drugs”) is a common strategy for college kids, and could chemically help you make the grade. Pro Tip: You’re better off going to a real doctor with fake symptoms than you are buying stims off of some no-account university street pharmacist. If you’ve simply got to buy them black market, have some pride. And don’t forget about Pill ID.

  2. Plagiarism

    If you’re not going to make good grades, you might as well go out in a blaze of glory. Steal like an artist, but do so super smartly. Mix up sentence structure and have a thesaurus by your side, and no one will ever know that you didn’t write the Gettysburg Address. (Let’s be honest. Everyone will know. Your teachers have software that detect that stuff, you know. Wait, didn’t you try that pill thing? Maybe don’t plagiarize, you ingrate!) Be careful exactly how you steal and plagiarize, as you don’t want to jeopardize your reputation for academic integrity, even if you’re not going to pass your classes.

  3. Tutoring

    If pills and plagiarism aren’t your thing, (pat yourself on the back for being a decent human being, and) try getting a tutor. These helpful academic mentors can aid you in identifying where your blocks are, and can even help parse difficult problems that you’d never be able to understand in class. Having a tutor is a show of good faith; your professors may be more than willing to work with you if you’re working hard to understand course content.

  4. Pay Someone

    Paying someone to do your work for you (or, better yet, to pretend to be you while you Ferris Bueller through college) is a surefire way to ensure that those assignments that you’re never going to do get properly finished. If tutoring isn’t cutting it, and you’ve got the cash, there are plenty of resources for finding an academic stand-in available via Internet. While this could be a decent solution for your academic worries, and good money for whatever poor sap you hire, make absolutely certain that privacy and originality are your primary concerns. You don’t want to get caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Or with someone else’s hand in the jar that’s supposed to be filled with your cookies. Or, well, you get it.

  5. Drop Out and Become an Internet Entrepreneur

    It’s like your mother always said: quit while you’re behind. And you don’t want Kanye West to be the only college dropout that achieves international recognition. If you’ve got some promise but can’t seem to make the grade, consider completely abandoning your hopes of a successful college career. Not all will be lost — if you’re a self starter and you’re as smart and capable as you say you are, make friends with some venture capitalists and try your hand in the big, scary business world. If you’ve got the chops to make it, trade that ivory tower for a corner office, stat.

  6. Sleep With Your Professor

    One sure fire way to get the grade that you need is to have sex with your instructor and then blackmail them for an A. While not the most ethical (or aesthetically pleasing) of possible college experiences, there’s something to be said for the intestinal fortitude of a student that will straight shack up with those responsible for their academic success. Although every professor won’t be amenable to your advances, do a bit of schedule shuffling and you’re sure to find an easy route to sleep your way to the top of the class.

  7. Be A Star Athlete

    If you can represent your school on the court or the field, don’t worry too much about showing up for class. If you’re going to be an academic underachiever, you’ve got to have some other skill that’s worthy of good (fake) grades. Michael McAdoo, a former defensive lineman for UNC, was able to make top marks in a graduate-level writing class after doing so poorly on the verbal SAT that he was pegged for remedial reading classes. And don’t think that he spent his nights self-learning writing by candlelight; the athlete was one of several that year that was penalized for academic dishonesty. The lesson here is this: if you’re going to be dishonest, be careful. Or sack up and win a Heisman, already.

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