Posted in Lessons by The Books Production Team on January 29, 2009


typewriter9 I guess, technically speaking, if I were forced to list the greatest regrets of my life, I would have to come up with a series of events where it would have been in my power to act differently, and I just made stupid decisions.That is, after all, the most technical meaning of the word “regret.”On this list, I’d include things like, “I wish I hadn’t quit playing basketball the summer before my senior year to devote more time to watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”Or I’d include things like, “I wish, out of some misguided sense of hyper-fiscal responsibility, I hadn’t been so miserly during the first eight months of my marriage, because it probably contributed to my divorce.”But making a list like this isn’t much fun.In fact, it’s pretty much just painful.So, in a less literal, more comedic sense, I think my greatest life regret is probably not having been born twenty years earlier so that I could have fully experienced the disco era – because to me, the concept of the disco is just completely awesome.

For one thing, I would have been a way better dancer if my clubbing days would have occurred at the height of the KC and the Sunshine Band zeitgeist.As has been previously alluded to, I’m not real good at dancing in the modern sense – but this is mostly because my body doesn’t vibrate in the intuitive spasms that govern contemporary grindage, and public displays of simulated sexual acts make me a little uncomfortable.I am, on the other hand, and I’m quite sure this would be to the chagrin of Danny Kaye’s character in White Christmas, relatively good at learning choreography.You see, back in my fraternity days, the sorority choreographer of our Lip-Sync and Air-Band competitions would almost always place me in the front, because I could easily learn the moves – and disco-dancing is really nothing more than a series of choreographed moves, which would have been good for me.Also, the outfits were pretty sweet.

snf Anyways, perhaps because of this longing for the 1970s, I find it absolutely hysterical whenever something is referred to as being analogous to a disco.For instance, in one of the first two Chris Rock HBO stand-up specials – either Bring the Pain or Bigger and Blacker – he refers to community college as being a “disco with books,” where anyone can “pay ten dollars and get their learn on.”No offense to community colleges here, because I think they provide a valuable service for kids who can’t afford 4 years at 50 grand a pop and adults who want to continue their education, but in my mind, what Chris Rock says is funny.Just like it’s funny when someone refers to a car-wash as being a disco with soap, a church as being a disco with Bibles, or a lake as being a disco with fish (and I completely realize that this list makes less sense the further along you read).

So, to make a long story (a little) shorter – when I was preparing my notes for this lesson, I riffed off about 50 different places on an average college campus where one might potentially study, but not sufficiently concentrate, because these places were like a disco.But you probably don’t want to read an entire list of 50 items where the best joke might be that the cafeteria is like a disco with Salisbury steak, so I’ll get on with it.And thus, we now find ourselves at the crux of Lesson #50: Find the Nook – and no, this isn’t some secret innuendo paying homage to Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit.

Your job, while you’re in college, is first and foremost to study.There’s no getting around this fact, and the reason is this: if you don’t study, you’re not going to make it to the point in the future where your job will be first and foremost your job – or at least, your job won’t be to go every day to a place of employment that you like or that pays you enough money to buy a second house in the Hamptons.So, you’ve got to study.But the thing that makes this hard in college is that there are so many other awesome things to do with your time, and so many distractions – even in places that should theoretically be quiet, like your dorm room (particularly if your roommate is Cooper from Dead Man on Campus) or the main study areas in the library (which are really just discos with people who talk too loudly on their cell phones).Thus, the secret is to find a place where you can maximize your study time by becoming completely insulated from the outside world – a little place on your campus that will become your own personal study nook – like one of the turrets in the administration castle or an abandoned storage closet underneath the football stadium.You might think I’m joking here, or that these places sound a little crazy, but I’m not.Every campus has at least 50 of these little nooks that can become your own private office, and if you want to find that magical spot where the studying that used to take you an exhausting six hours of drudgery now takes you only a focused two (seriously, you’ll be amazed how much more work you get done when nobody stops by every ten minutes to tell you that they’re having “Penny Pitchers” that night at Bogey’s), then all you’ve got to do is to spend a few hours this afternoon exploring.

Now, that being said, has anybody been watching that show Life on Mars on ABC?Evidently, it’s about a guy who wakes up to mysteriously find himself in 1977 – and if that’s the case, I want to know what his secret is – because I’m just itching for a chance to start wearing bell-bottoms while I learn to do the Hustle.

4 Responses

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  1. Mary said, on February 4, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    This is a really fabulous tip, Joe. My plan was to write today about setting up your study space. When I was in college, I learned that the campus church had a great lounge for studying. I spent a lot of time there, and I’m agnostic!

  2. Find a Study Spot | And You Will Graduate said, on February 4, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    […] to the library which could get pretty crowded. Check out this helpful and humorous post from Dr. Wizard on finding a great hideaway on campus where you can study in […]

  3. KBO said, on February 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Ah, so you’re a Truman alum…I see the Bogey’s reference. RIP, Bogey’s. PML was full of awesome nooks. I happened to use them for napping as much as studying, though. If I really wanted to study, I’d go to the quiet lounge.

  4. Christy S. said, on February 6, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    As a Community College English professor (and alum!) I nearly shot coffee out of my nose when you quoted Chris Rock in your post. And here I thought my Community College colleagues and I were the only ones who knew about that little gem. Kudos!

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