25 1 / 2014
- (We’re taking a calculus final. The TA is a well-known Lord of the Rings fan, and we’ve had running LotR jokes all semester.)
- 1: “Okay, guys, everyone look at me. We’ve been over the rules, but just in case: no notes, pencil your answers in on the scantron sheet, and graphing calculators only – no more ‘can I just used my cell phone’ nonsense.”
- 2: “[TA's name], my calculator batteries just died! What should I do?”
- 1: “Here, I’ve got a big box of spares.”
- 2: *struggling* “I can’t get this packaging open…”
- 3: “Here, I’ve got a pocket knife.”
- 1: “And I’ve got a pair of scissors if you need them.”
- 4: *from the back of the room* “OR MY AXE!”
- (Everyone starts laughing.)
- 1: “The only axes allowed on the exam are in the graph section.”
- (Everyone groans.)
- 1: “Oh, come on, you’re in a math class. Deal with the math jokes.”
- (The professor enters with a stack of exams. With him are two exam proctors.)
- 5: “Tolkien jokes already, [TA's name]?”
- 1: “Hey, I didn’t start it.”
- (The professor starts handing stacks of exams to the TA and proctors.)
- 5: “But I’m about to finish it. [TA], take these exams down the left flank. [Proctor 1], follow the desks down the center. [Proctor 2], take your exams right, along the wall.”
- 6: Theoden’s lines from ‘Return of the King.’)
- 5: “Forth, and fear no problems! Solve! Solve, students of calculus! Points shall be taken, scores shall be splintered! A pencil day! A red-ink day! Until three thirty!”
- (The professor pulls out a pencil, holding it out like a sword, and runs down the first row holding it out. Students hold up their pencils, hitting his as he passes.)
- 5: “Solve now! Solve now! Solve to good grades and the class ending! MAAATH!”
- 7: “MAAATH!”
- 5: “MAAAAATH!”
- 7: “MAAAAAATH!”
- 5: “Forth, exam-takers!”
- (The entire class rises to their feet and gives him a standing ovation. A week later, we get an email from the professor.)
- 5: *at the end of the email* “PS: I appreciate all of you who wrote in their evaluations that I was the one professor to rule them all, but the best one yet was the student who called me ‘Mathrandir.’”
14 10 / 2013
- push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.
2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.
3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.
4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.
5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.
6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.
7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.
8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.
9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.
10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.
11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.
12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.
14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything.
15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.
16. lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. open your eyes. take small steps to make it happen for you.