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.


This entry was posted in BJ Hiorns Art, College Survival GuideBy Pat44 Responses


  1. Anonymous
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 2:50 PM | Permalink


  2. buzz
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

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

  3. Fyorl
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    Loose =/= lose. Oh dear.Other than that, pretty hilarious. Especially the final paragraph.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    I am in favor of pants and maybe…pie.

  5. Mary J.
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    Your fascination with pants never fails to entertain me…What is coming Monday? Tell, tell, tell!

  6. Ben
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    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.

  7. Mary J.
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

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

  8. marky
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    Pants! *snigger*

  9. Gylfi
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

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

  10. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    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?

  11. gapyeargirl123
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    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.)

  12. tiggerbone
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    @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. ;)

  13. Fae
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    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. ^_~.

  14. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

    @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.[email protected], 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.[email protected], 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!

  15. Anonymous
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

    stupid. Your so stupid. *Rolls Eyes*

  16. Mary J.
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 8:48 PM | Permalink

    <>TROLL!<> Troll in the dungeon- thought you ought to know…

  17. AndyB
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    @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.

  18. Fe2O3
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    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: desseWhose pants are desse?

  19. Alexis
    Posted November 7, 2008 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    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.

  20. Sally
    Posted November 8, 2008 at 3:41 AM | Permalink

    <>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+”…

  21. kyuthe
    Posted November 8, 2008 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    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.’

  22. Anonymous
    Posted November 8, 2008 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Can a towel be substituted for pants?

  23. Anonymous
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 3:40 AM | Permalink

    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.

  24. Steven Weyerts
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    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.

  25. Mary J.
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    Monday, Monday, Monday!Something cool, please?

  26. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    Aargg, matey. Something cool, indeed!

  27. marky
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

    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?

  28. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    I’ve got a sandwhich, a monkey and a rope… Does that help?

  29. Anonymous
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    what kind of sandwich?

  30. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    Um… pastrami on rye.

  31. marky
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    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. :-(

  32. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    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.

  33. marky
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    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.

  34. marky
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    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.

  35. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 10:55 PM | Permalink

    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.

  36. Incubus Jax
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 10:55 PM | Permalink

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

  37. marky
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 11:05 PM | Permalink

    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?

  38. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    I’m lost without me Cap’n!Quick, someone bark me an order. I only perform well under the supression of iron-fisted authority.

  39. AndyB
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    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.

  40. marky
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

    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. ;-(

  41. Kanna
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

    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?

  42. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

    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?OH MY GOSH THEY KIDNAPPED MY MONKEY!!!And who the hell drank all the brandy?!!

  43. madrummer
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    Can you please re-release this, either in print or maybe on an e-book. I really want to read the rest of this.

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  • By A Beginning | 52tattoos on January 16, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    […] from work , especially to grab a quick laugh in the case of Patrick Rothfuss’ who never ceases to amaze me. (Not to give a sales pitch, but as an aside, Patrick Rothfuss is hosting a fundraiser now for […]

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