10 Things I'd Rather Be Doing Than Studying for Midterms

Despite having grace and wit well beyond my years, I am, in fact, a student, and since midterms are already upon me, I regret to announce that I will have to spend the next two weeks of my life studying instead of bringing more laughter and sarcasm to the world. While you pine for me in my absence, just remember that I'd rather be doing almost anything but studying for these midterms. And when I say anything, I mean I would rather:

1. Pet a fish.

Okay, full disclosure time: I am terrified of fish.

I will fervently deny this to any of my readers who know me in person, but I have had an irrational fear of fish for as long as I can remember. They freak me out. There's just something about their blank eyes and gills and the creepy way they move that fills me with a creeping horror I can't even begin to articulate. I have, on more than one occasion, woken up in a cold sweat from a nightmare that consisted of nothing more than fish being in my general proximity. If you've ever wanted to know what it looks like when someone has a fight-or-flight reaction to a lungless organism that doesn't even have legs, take a look at this video:

Whose idea was it to take me to a goddamn fish museum?

I am of the wholehearted opinion that fish should evolve the ability to transport themselves into space and fly off into the stratosphere forever, environmental impact on the planet be damned, but I'm not too hopeful of that happening in the near future. I would, however, be willing to rub my hand along a fish's scaly back of nightmares if it got me out of my midterms. Their blank, staring faces might be horrifying, but not nearly as horrifying as a blank ScanTron and a scowling exam proctor. 

2. Feature on a Kanye West track.

At this point in 2015, I am not entirely convinced that Kanye West is a real, actual person. My theories on his existence range from "actor hired by clever marketing agency" to "alien stranded on earth who has yet to truly learn our ways", but either way, he is clearly not quite right in the head and is not to be meddled with. Whether he's drunkenly interrupting awards shows, marrying the woman attached to Kim Kardashian's butt, or making crude remarks about alien sex in the middle of Katy Perry's otherwise phenomenal "E.T.", Kanye West does not know how to function in life, and he makes everything confusing and frustrating for those around him.

I know, Kanye. The world is a frightening and confusing place.

Ordinarily, the only interaction I might hope to have with Kanye West would involve a therapy couch and an easily accessible panic button, but faced with the looming prospect of midterms, I can safely say that I would be willing to feature on a Kanye West track to get out of them. The entire process would involve endless hours of listening to Kanye berate sound engineers and publicly declare himself to be the greatest artist alive. If I'm lucky, he'll compare himself to the Beatles and Shakespeare in the same sentence before kicking over a studio garbage can. He'll probably make me white-girl rap praises of his wife's behind and his daughter's baffling name, while I try to carve my own tongue out between takes with a screwdriver. And if I'm really lucky, everyone involved will be wearing shutter shades. But at the end of the day, no textbooks or statistics problems will be involved. And that makes the whole ordeal worthwhile. 

3. Strangle a bear.

I am not an athletic person. I do the bare minimum amount of exercise required to keep my twenty-two-year-old cardiovascular system in recognizable shape - I show up at the gym three days a week, flop around on the equipment for a while until other people feel sufficiently embarrassed for me, and then I limp home to lick my wounds. Sudden spurts of physical activity - like sprinting to catch the bus, or running after my escape-artist dog, or typing too quickly to finish a paper - are nothing less than cruel and unusual punishment for me. But when faced with midterms, I'd be willing to take on the ultimate physical challenge - single-handedly strangling a bear.

Not that kind of bear.

They say that fight-or-flight reactions can lead to great feats of strength - like the panicked mother who lifts a car off her trapped baby - and for me, impending midterm exams are more of a cause for alarm than any hypothetical vehicle slowly crushing the life from my hypothetical offspring. The university is usually pretty strict about the circumstances under which they grant deferred or excused midterms, but I'm pretty sure if I choked the life from a rampaging grizzly bear as it opened its jaws to maul me, they'd never dare to refuse any of my requests for leniency ever again.

4. Run off to start a new life as a Burmese drug lord.

University is great for broadening your horizons and learning new things, but ultimately, most of us are there to find a career. Since I lacked the foresight to be born to a family who could bestow me with a trust fund that eclipsed the GDP of a small country, my university career has ultimately been about finding a profession that can sustain me when I wake up blinking in the sunlight on the other side of the post-secondary tunnel. So if I'm going to sabotage myself by flipping over my desk and storming out of my midterms, I need to have a backup career ready. And by backup career, I mean I am totally down to be a drug lord. In Burma. For some reason.

Oh look, I can almost pay back my student loans.

Burma, now officially known as Myanmar, seems like the sort of country that's both obscure enough to have wicked seat sales, and is just ignored enough by Western media that my notoriety won't bring shame to my entire family. Myanmar also happens to have a rich, storied history of stunningly large and unstoppable drug empires, which makes moving there seem like a sensible career move. A career as a Burmese drug kingpin offers all the comforts of modern, upper-class Southeast Asia, with all the government oversight of modern-say Somalia, and really, that's something my midterms just can't offer.

5. Assassinate a major head of state with a jellyfish.

Look, I'm not just in this whole "post-secondary" thing for money and regrettable experiences. I'm also in it for a bit of recognition. I'm trying to publish my research results under my own name, in part so I can brag about my little contribution to science forever. I submit short stories under my own name, so I can be recognized as a writer forever. And I run a website that I literally named after myself, because my ego is as rampant and unchecked as any 20-something's ego should be. It's all very well and fine to be good at what you do, but there's a part of me that yearns for recognition, and for other people to acknowledge my work long after I've disappeared into the ether. Which is why I would rather assassinate a major head of state with a jellyfish than study for my midterms.

The Box Jellyfish, seen here quietly disagreeing with Angela Merkel's foreign policy.

Getting recognized in an academic field is hard. You have to study insanely hard, for years, just to have a shot at selling your soul to a laboratory or graduate for more years, all in the hopes of becoming slightly famous among the few people on earth who care about the insanely specific thing that you actually study. Ever heard of Kent Kiehl? Didn't think so. He's one of the most accomplished researchers in the world on an insanely interesting topic - psychopaths - and still no one has heard of him. You want instant worldwide recognition that will last the ages? Assassinate a world leader. Not only do the assassins of world leaders become household names overnight, but choosing an unorthodox method - namely, scooping up a deadly jellyfish and hurling it at the leader of a world power with a soup ladle - will ensure that I am never forgotten. Long after my midterm grades are forgotten, people will still be talking about that crazy girl who upset the balance of world power with weaponized sea life.

I'm kidding, please don't actually assassinate a world leader.

6. Attend a Coldplay concert.

If you liked rock music between the years 2005-present, you might have noticed that every rock playlist and radio station is contaminated with an infestation of the musical fungus known as Coldplay. Make no mistake, people. Coldplay is not rock music. Chris Martin whispering his feelings into a microphone while awkwardly holding an acoustic guitar is not rock music. His only real contributions to this world have been two children with terrible names and the world's #1 most fucked-up choice for wedding songs.

"I will try to fix you" - the man who named his eldest child Apple.

But for the chance to get out of studying for midterms, I would attend a Coldplay concert. I would stand in the crowd amongst thousands of the presumably mouth-breathing, Starbucks-swilling middle-aged women who enjoy Coldplay, and I would try my very hardest not to strangle anyone. Asking me to cheer for the band would be far too much to ask for, but at the very least, I promise not to hurl a chair at Chris Martin's head as he whines his way through "Clocks".

7. Costar in a Brendan Fraser movie.

Picture Brendan Fraser. What are you seeing? A young, reasonably good-looking man with an impressive movie resume spanning dozens of varied, memorable roles? A leading man guaranteed to bring an adequate performance to any film he stars in? This?

You know you picture this a lot.

If you pictured any of those things, I'm here to tell you that you're wrong. There is no variety to Brendan Fraser's career. He does not play a wide range of characters. No matter what sort of role you write for Brendan Fraser, you are only going to get one thing from him on screen: a big, dumb ape trying and failing to adapt to human ways. You could cast the man as The Joker or Al Capone, and all you're ever going to get is George of the Jungle in pants. 

"Durrrrrrrrrrrr" - Brendan Fraser's face.

Normally, you have to date me for a year before I start to actually hate the sight of your face, but there's just something about Brendan Fraser that makes my skin crawl, and I've never been able to pinpoint what it is. On some level, I understand that he's an educated and accomplished actor whose achievements go far beyond the screen. But then I watch The Mummy, and I catch myself pitying whoever's job it is to step in and wipe the drool off his face between takes. My profound disdain for Brendan Fraser is, however, something I would be more than willing to overcome in exchange for an escape from midterms. I would agree to be cast in a brilliant movie with an Oscar-worthy script, and then bite my tongue for month after month as Brendan Fraser slowly mangled it into a straight-to-DVD remake of Planet of the Apes.

8. Kidnap an emu.

I know two things about emus: they are adorable, and they will claw your face clean off if you give them the opportunity. That's twice as many things as I know about most of my midterm material, so in exchange for escaping midterms, I would be willing to fly to the Australian outback and kidnap an emu from its natural habitat.

And I shall call him Skippy.

Wikipedia tells me that these bird bastards stand six feet tall and run at 30 miles per hour, which means that I effectively have no chance of catching one, much less overpowering it and wrestling it into my luggage for the journey home to Canada. Hell, the Government of Australia declared war on these things in the 1930s and sent in the military to eradicate them, and they freaking lost. My attempts to snag an emu are just going to result in me spending the rest of my natural life wandering the deserts of Australia, trailing after emus until I succumb to a combination of dehydration and claw wounds. But I won't have to open any textbooks. And that means it's worth it.

9. Publicly read off the contents of my music library.

I have terrible taste in music.

Sure, everyone has that one song hidden somewhere in their music library that they would never ordinarily admit to. Maybe it's "Barbie Girl". Or "I Want It That Way". Or the Spice Girls' "Wannabe". For me, that 'one embarrassing song' just happens to be 'everything released by a group of whiny boys in eyeliner between the years 2006 and 2010'.

So basically, there's a whole lot of this guy.

Seriously, I've got it all. There's Fall Out Boy. Marianas Trench. Mayday Parade. The Summer Obsession. Simple Plan. Hedley. 30 Seconds to Mars. And just in case you're the kind of awful 13-year-old girl who thinks that sounds like a pretty solid list of bands, don't worry, I've got plenty of mainstream garbage to disgust you too. How about Carly Rae Jepson? Or Taylor Swift? Jason Derulo? Hoodie Allen? Macklemore? Eminem? Are you the kind of gremlin who thinks all contemporary music is great? Screw you, I've got more aging rock stars than a single methadone clinic could handle. AC/DC. Aerosmith. Heart. Cat Stevens. Vixen. Basically, if you're an awful person and you once made sound into a microphone while it was recording, I probably have your album. My music library is what happens when you send an unmedicated schizophrenic on a music shopping spree with a backhoe. But having to read out all of its shameful, shameful contents in a public venue is still less humiliating than owning up to what a terrible student I am, and I would rather face that kind of public music shame than study for midterms. 

10. Resurrect my junior high wardrobe.

Junior high, like university, is not a time for good choices. From the ages of 12-14, I prided myself on making some of the worst choices available to me, not the least of which was my wardrobe. I was very fortunate to be in junior high during the social media dark age that existed before Facebook opened to the public in 2006, which means the worst of my ensembles are remembered only in horrifying old family photographs and the nightmares of anyone who knew me at that age. Rest assured that I dressed like I'd just lost a fist fight with Avril Lavigne inside a Hot Topic. What I can show you, however, are photographs from my first year of high school, when I was slowly transitioning from "bargain bin mall vampire" to "human being". Enjoy:

Zebra bandanna and tiny white-girl cornrows. Nice.

One of a dozen or so times I tried to dye my hair pink at home.

Ties. With chains in them. For some reason.

A whole lot of camouflage everything. Note the half-washed-out red hair dye.

"Confused screaming"

But compared to the humiliation of dusting off my old junior high wardrobe and proudly modeling it in public, the humiliation of being a terrible, terrible student is far worse. If I could get out of studying just by slipping back into those clothes, I'd be piling on my studded belts and searching for "how to tie a tie" right now. 

What would you do to get out of your exams? Leave it in the comments. 

1 comment

  1. Interesting things you would be doing )) I like just of them )) It's attending Coldplay's concert )) And I am really going to attend their concert in 2017. I have even bought tickets https://ticketcrab.com/coldplay-tickets And are you going to Coldplay's concert in 2017?


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