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Ask Arista

Dear Arista,

What the hell happened to you? I haven’t seen your column in weeks. Are you dead or something?

-- Bewildered Beaver

Dear Beav,

Yes, yes I was. But I don’t really want to talk about it. It kind of freaked me out.


-- Arista K.

Dear Arista,

I really hate finals. The studying, the stress, the pressure of taking exams that are worth such a large percentage of my grades... Do you have any advice on how to get through them as painlessly as possible?

-- Studious Student

Dear Studious,

Indeed I do. What you need is a good, healthy dose of denial. Here’s what you do: Go to your room. Lock the door. Crank up the music, and turn down the lights. Then sing along to the tunes and dance like a maniac until you collapse from exhaustion. The locked door will keep out any pesky roommates who might try to get inside and study, and the music will drown out the banging on the door and the angry yells.

Once you’ve purged your system of stress, spend the rest of your time before exams watching TV and movies, playing video games, and complaining with friends about how much you all hate finals. Sleep late every day, eat junk food, and tell yourself it's necessary therapy for coping with the pressure. By the time finals roll around, you’ll be having the best time you’ve ever had at MIT, and the actual tests will pass quickly.

Good luck!

-- Arista K.

Dear Arista,

What’s the best way to learn a semester’s worth of coursework in a little under a week?

-- Il Procrastinator

Dear Procrastinator,

There are numerous methods which have been employed over the years to accomplish this particular task.

Method #1: Osmosis. Place your textbook, notes, videos, Powerpoint slides, etc. from the class under your head and sleep on them at night. This is most effective on top of your pillow, although you may place them underneath the pillow for greater comfort. Don’t expect to absorb complicated equations, though; they require direct skin contact to soak in properly.

Method #2: Sleep learning. Slip on the headphones, lie back, and study your way to an A+ ... in your dreams.

Method #3: Total body tattoo. It’s amazing how many chemical functional groups you can fit on the back of your knuckles.

Method #4: Give up and pray to the gods of partial credit. Though not the ideal method, this is undoubtedly the most popular among students. As a tip, the gods of partial credit like pumpkin-scented candles and eraser shavings.

Happy despairing!

-- Arista K.