Column: Gus Bode’s top ten ways to not fail out of college

By Austin Phelps and Gus Bode, Staff reporters

“Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it,” Abigail Wheetley, assistant professor at SIU, said.

Sometimes college can suck. Homework, exams and going to class can all be a bummer and let’s face it some students don’t even know what they’re here to do.

Does anybody remember the movie Accepted from 2006? No? Don’t watch it as a tutorial.


Here’s a top ten guide of how to not fail out of school. Unlike the Daily Egyptian’s other top ten’s it may actually help you.

(Editor’s note: Ouch.)

1. Go to class

Ugh, classes. Who even wants to sit in an hour-long lecture? You should probably still go.

“It’s simultaneously the most you can do and the least you can do,” Nick Weshinskey, coordinator of the Saluki Success Program, said.

If your class is boring or pointless, think of it as a scheduled nap time. You should still go because attendance is important since many classes factor it into your final grade.

It’s a misconception that attendance doesn’t matter. I’m not even in the newsroom and Gus Bode is frustrated.


(Editor’s note: Where do you even write this stuff?)

So come on, don’t be lazy, do the least amount of work and just show up.

(Editor’s note: Or just go ahead and skip. The powerpoint presentations are usually put on D2L.)

Remember, every moment you spend in college is an investment of your time. You can choose to spend it on your phone or sleeping in, or you can use it to learn as much as you can. You’re already paying to do so.

2. Do your homework

There aren’t any dogs allowed in the dorms to eat your homework so the whole “Sorry, my dog ate my online D2L assignment” isn’t going to work.

You might try to game the system by planning which assignments to do and which not, depending on the late-work policy of your class. But it’s better to go through the homework to actually learn, rather than cut corners to get a passing grade.

(Editor’s note: Or just google the answers. Quizlet isn’t just used by you, but also your professors. Talk about plagarism.)

3. Go to office hours

“Come by my office hours if you need any help,” almost every professor I’ve had, said.

Going to office hours can be a huge help. It shows initiative and that you are actually wanting to improve your grades. You should try to build a relationship with your professor and asking for help is the first step.

“From a teacher’s perspective I’m definitely more likely to give someone a little extra leeway and a little extra benefit of the doubt if I’ve seen them in my office because I know they’re really trying, they really care,” Weshinskey said.

If you have one of Wheetley’s classes, such as Saluki Success 101, go to her office hours she has tarot cards and candy.

(Editor’s note: The tarot cards may or may not predict your midterm grade.)

4. Create a Google Calendar

Your cellphone already consumes your life for evil so let it do a little good. Staying organized is something that’s taken for granted and it’s so easy to do.

You’ll never forget deadlines, or miss tests when you set up a calendar. You’ll notice your life becomes less stressful because you can stay on top of things easier.

Even if you’re wanting to skip class the constant notification that CMST 101 starts in ten minutes will haunt you throughout the rest of the day and the guilt will eat you alive. Like I said, life becomes less stressful.

5. Get a tutor

I know, everyone hates asking for help. It’s like walking around a grocery store and not wanting to ask where the next item on your list is.

This is just like when you’re in class and don’t want to raise your hand. But you shouldn’t feel ashamed for asking for help. Raise your hand like a doofus, ask your question and when in doubt get a tutor.

Remember there are no stupid questions, only stupid people. Ones that never ask their stupid questions, that is.

There are many resources for tutoring at the university which can all be found here.

6. The Writing Center

I know this is a really common resource but it is so helpful. Nothing’s greater than some harsh criticism on the thing you slaved over at 3 a.m. on a Red Bull binge session.

For every paper you ever write you should swing by here. A second opinion is sometimes the only thing standing between a good paper and a perfect one.

For more information on the Writing Center check here.

7. Study with a friend

Go out, be social and find the Patrick to your Spongebob. You can pass boating school together! Just try to avoid fleeing the city if you steal a free balloon, or getting a murderous doodle copy of yourself.

In fact, forget about Spongebob Squarepants as an example. It may defeat the point of a study buddy altogether.

8. Don’t pull a Gus Bode

Gus bode has been here longer than any other student. Basically, do the opposite of anything he would.

(Editor’s note: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I always meet my deadline — wait this was supposed to be published yesterday? Crap.)

Gus Bode recommends reading this top ten article.

9. Join the Daily Egyptian

This is a really big one if you’re a journalism major however it reaches across to all majors at the university. It’s a great way to earn experience as a reporter, photographer or designer.

Practice your grammar, have a love-hate relationship with AP style and hook up with Gus Bode in the conference room. It’s all a great time.

(Editor’s note: But if your schedule is already very tight, think about if you can take an additional job. I’ve been enrolled for over 50 years because I haven’t found time to finally get my credit hours for bowling in.)

10. If you do fail just try again

Remember what Wheetley said. Failure is a part of success.

If you fail try again. If you fall, get back up. Everyone is entitled to making mistakes in their life. If you’re never wrong you can never learn.

So if you do fail just remember that you can always try again. You can always get back up. If you’ve had a bad semester who cares? You get up and you try again.

“Failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” -Mary Pickford

“Hang in there!” -Cat poster

Staff reporter Austin Phelps can be reached at or on Twitter at @austinphelps96.

Staff slacker Gus Bode can be reached at

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