Sunday, October 19, 2008
Your College Survival Guide: How to impress your professor.

Here's one of the first columns I wrote for the College Survival Guide. It's from way back in the day. Not my best work, as I was still figuring out how to be funny back then. But it's still worth a chuckle or two....


Well, the first month of the semester is pretty much over. So if you're a serious student like myself, it's about time you considered going to what we eighth-year seniors like to refer to as "class."

Do not be alarmed. "Class" has received a lot of bad press in the past several years, leading many students to avoid it entirely. I however, have always believed that "class," when taken in moderation, adds a new, enriching dimension to your whole college experience.

But "class" is not something to be approached hastily. Important questions should be asked before attending your first "class." Questions such as: "What time is it?" "Who has my pants?" and "Is this your slightly molested, vaguely-orangutan-looking, plush toy?"

Once you've answered these questions (and taken any appropriate legal action that the answers seem to necessitate) you should be ready to go to "class." For new students, I recommend that you bring some school supplies to class. The most important of these are: Pants (this should prove simple, if you've answered question #2), and a bag of candy.

(Optionally, if you had trouble answering question #3, you may want to bring the plush orangutan as well. It may belong to someone who happens to be attending your "class.")

Now, some people will recommend that you bring pencils, paper, a calculator, etc. That's a loosing strategy, because if you try to remember all those dozens of little things, you're bound to forget at least one of them. But as long as you're wearing pants you can usually borrow pens, paper, and books from other students, or in extreme situations, trade candy for them.

On the other hand, if you forget your pants, my experience has been that no one will lend you theirs. Also, without pants, your "classmates" will be noticeably less willing to take any candy you offer in trade.

So, once you are wearing you pants and you're in "class," you should notice one student that is older than all the rest. This old student is called the professor. You will note that he is also wearing pants. This will form a bond between you, which will eventually lead to you getting a "grade."

In rare occasions, your professor will remove his pants. The proper thing to do in this circumstance is to remove your pants as well. This will form an even closer bond between you, which will eventually lead to you getting a "disease."


Something cool coming Monday. Stay tuned.


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posted by Pat at


Anonymous Anonymous said...


November 7, 2008 8:50 AM  
Blogger buzz said...

I encourage the proper usage of pants in today's society.

November 7, 2008 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Fyorl said...

Loose =/= lose. Oh dear.

Other than that, pretty hilarious. Especially the final paragraph.

November 7, 2008 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in favor of pants and maybe...pie.

November 7, 2008 9:07 AM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Your fascination with pants never fails to entertain me...

What is coming Monday? Tell, tell, tell!

November 7, 2008 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Ben said...

Fyorl: Thanks. Your comment pointing out a typo has both improved my day, and impressed me. I am now convinced that you are a superiour human being. I feel enlightened, and I'm sure that Rothfuss' day will be improved by the addition of your passive agressive snark.

P.S. "Especially the final paragraph" is a sentence fragment.

November 7, 2008 9:30 AM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Beware the minions and our fervent Pat-love! :-D

*Salutes Ben*

November 7, 2008 9:36 AM  
Blogger marky said...

Pants! *snigger*

November 7, 2008 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Gylfi said...

That explains why I've been having a rough time in school. All this time, heading to class without pants.

November 7, 2008 10:14 AM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

Reminds me of Dr. Seuss's tale of the Pale Green Pants With Nobody Inside Them. But the only similarity is the mention of pants, really.

We encourage pants in the Navy, too. Of course, I'll be undergoing civilianization in 14 days, so not sure how the pants rule will apply then...

Does civilianization hurt? Do they remove something or add something?

November 7, 2008 10:59 AM  
Blogger dragongirl said...

He he he, great piece.

The 'Who has my pants?' question becomes infinitely more funny when you're not living in America, and pants are underwear.

(Also, apologies for being somewhat absent from the comments recently. I have been reading the journal, just not writing.)

November 7, 2008 11:11 AM  
Blogger tiggerbone said...

@SailorMatt, that depends upon whether you are wearing said pants. If you are not wearing pants, it is again possible that you shall bond with someone and get, as our dear Mr. Rothfuss stated, a "disease." On the other hand, without pants, it is less likely that people will take things from you, like what we like to call, "money."

I do highly recommend wearing pants to civilianization, but your mileage may vary. ;)

November 7, 2008 11:13 AM  
Blogger Fae said...

I really think that the necessity of pants depends on the gender of the student asking for pens and paper and the gender of the student being asked. ^_~.

November 7, 2008 11:19 AM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

@Fae, you've really started something here. Sexuality and general chemistry between both parties must also be considered, as well as intoxication level and general comfort of being around nakedness.

@Tiggerbone, I going to stick with your recommendation. Although most rites of passage require the dislodging of pants, I suspect this transition will pass more smoothly with pants attached.

@Pat, is Monday's thing the Big Thing we've all been waiting for? Perhaps a contest, or an annoucement, or an announcement of a contest... Such games you play!

November 7, 2008 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stupid. Your so stupid. *Rolls Eyes*

November 7, 2008 2:44 PM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

TROLL! Troll in the dungeon- thought you ought to know...

November 7, 2008 2:48 PM  
Anonymous AndyB said...

@Fyorl, A long time ago (even predating YCSG) I had to copyedit Pat's writing before publication. Pat may have a way with words but he's a stranger to spelling and punctuation. (Okay, he's gotten better but he still will sometimes ask this computer programmer for advice about English.) If loose/lose is the biggest error you can find, he's doing pretty well.

November 7, 2008 4:56 PM  
Blogger Fe2O3 said...

That's MY vaguely-orangutan-looking plush toy and everything was consensual...

You may not regard it as your best work, but still more hilarious than most of the stuff I got to read in my college screeds.

Ah, pants are an important part of "class," that clarifies a few lingering questions from my undergraduate days.

Word verification: desse
Whose pants are desse?

November 7, 2008 5:16 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The first time I've found you not funny. It feels strange.

Anywho, I submit for your consideration a ven diagram of two completely non intersecting circles - no overlap at all-
The first represents "times I was wearing pants", the second, "times I was truly happy".

I wish I could say this fine piece of nerdy art was my own brain child but in fact credit is due to my old housemate, Marshall.

A fine weekend to all.

November 7, 2008 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Sally said...

This will form an even closer bond between you, which will eventually lead to you getting a "disease."

I think you have a typo here. I believe what you meant to say is that it will eventually lead to getting an "A+"...

November 7, 2008 9:41 PM  
OpenID kyuthe said...

Lol, good times. A copy of the YCSG has made a home for itself in the Texas Woman's University Write Site. I do believe this article is bookmarked, and that pants has become a sort of codeword for 'food acquisition is imminent.'

November 8, 2008 12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can a towel be substituted for pants?

November 8, 2008 4:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pants are good things, wot? If the professor does remove his pants, by the way, one suggestion might be to "run for the hills."

Just another option, you know.

On the other hand, wearing just me boxers makes for a nice, constant breeze.

November 9, 2008 9:40 PM  
Blogger Steve Weyerts Jr. said...

I'll have to agree with Alexis on this one. This is certainly not up to par with the last articles you posted.

It almost makes me hope, in a way. You weren't always a writing God; you had to work at it. Perhaps, one day, I too will be able to write as well as you do.

I don't know. Maybe it's just too damn early in the morning. I'm never happy in the morning, so I'm less likely to laugh.

November 10, 2008 10:38 AM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Monday, Monday, Monday!
Something cool, please?

November 10, 2008 12:51 PM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

Aargg, matey. Something cool, indeed!

November 10, 2008 1:01 PM  
Blogger marky said...

Maybe Pat has gone all Buddhist again.

The cool thing might be a lesson on how not to let desire rule you.

On the other hand, he may be trapped down a well.

Has anyone got a sniffer dog?

November 10, 2008 2:20 PM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

I've got a sandwhich, a monkey and a rope... Does that help?

November 10, 2008 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what kind of sandwich?

November 10, 2008 2:40 PM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

Um... pastrami on rye.

November 10, 2008 3:03 PM  
Blogger marky said...

Pastrami on rye. Check.
A monkey and a rope. Check.

Do we need a St Bernard? They usually have a big barrel of brandy round their neck. Do well victims drink brandy?

Wait a minute. What’s the monkey for?

This is getting complicated. :-(

November 10, 2008 3:13 PM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

I've got the St Bernard (forgot to mention that earlier), but the brandy's gone. Sorry 'bout that.

If you can't find a practical use for the monkey, then I'm taking him back. Buy you just try lowering a St Bernard down a well in a bucket! Wait, does anyone have a bucket?

We gotta hurry with this. The sandwhich is getting cold, and there's still no sign of Pat.

November 10, 2008 3:32 PM  
Blogger marky said...

Wait a minute. This is one of those ‘the chicken, the fox and the seeds on a boat’ questions.

If I try to get down the well tied to the monkey, the monkey will not be strong enough to hold me.
If I send the sandwich down with the monkey, he’ll eat it before he gets half way.
Moreover, the St Bernard is too heavy to lower into the well; even if I could manage, the monkey might steal the sandwich. Hmm... ...What are we to do?

Complicated, complicated, complicated.

November 10, 2008 3:53 PM  
Blogger marky said...

This post has been removed by the author.

November 10, 2008 3:53 PM  
Blogger marky said...

Eureka! We tie the rope to the dog. I sit on it. We lower you and the monkey down into the well with the sandwich.

If Pat’s down there, give him the sandwich and tell him to keep half hanging out his mouth to entice the monkey closer to him. You then tie his beard onto the monkeys tail, and I haul the monkey and you back up. When you’re topside, we then pull Pat back up by his beard.

I call it the reverse Rapunzel.

If you hadn’t drunk the brandy, we could have used it to ease his beard pain on the way up.

November 10, 2008 4:18 PM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

The reverse Rapunzel! of course! Shoulda thought of that sooner...

Ah, but Pat doesn't drink, if I remember correctly, so the brandy would be of no use. Perhaps, however, we could have used it to null our own senses before Pat beats us for pulling on his beard.

Again, sorry 'bout that.

Where the hell is Cap'n Joe, by the way? Coulda used him on this one.

November 10, 2008 4:55 PM  
Blogger Incubus Jax said...

It's Monday. I'm tuned. Where's the coolness?

November 10, 2008 4:55 PM  
Blogger marky said...

Where the hell is Cap'n Joe, by the way?
Good question. He’s very suspicious with his absence. Strange that when Pat hasn't shown up with the coolness, Captain is also missing. Is this some kind of misery reworking incident?

November 10, 2008 5:05 PM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

I'm lost without me Cap'n!

Quick, someone bark me an order. I only perform well under the supression of iron-fisted authority.

November 10, 2008 5:12 PM  
Anonymous AndyB said...

By now you should all realize that Pat's "Monday" extends to about noon on Tuesday. Sometimes he forgets to convert RST (Rothfuss Standard Time) to the rest of the world's time.

November 10, 2008 5:30 PM  
Blogger marky said...

I can’t! Captain gives the orders. You’ll have to wait for his iron fist to return.
Steady yourself man!

It’s getting close to Tuesday here. Is this like a pizza hut thing? Will the European Minions get the coolness for free now?

I can’t take it anymore. I have to get my nightshirt on and brush my hair a 100 times before bed. I hand over the watch to you Sir. Shout if you hear any noises from the well.

Marky, tired and lacking that bit more coolness. ;-(

November 10, 2008 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Kanna said...

Someone has something against us. They have kidnapped Pat and now are kidnapping his cult. First Captin Joe, then the rest of us. My guess is Sailor Matt and Marky will be next....

Anyone have a conversion chart for RST?

November 10, 2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

They can't kidnap me. I'm under strict orders to watch this here well. We think Pat might be down there.

Hey, where'd the monkey go?


And who the hell drank all the brandy?!!

November 10, 2008 5:48 PM  

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