The temptation of skiving off and mugging up

January 15, 1999

Jennifer Currie, a former English literature student at Glasgow University, describes her most boring lecture:

It was always with a guilty conscience that I would decide against attending this particular professor's lectures, as I actually liked the subject, classics. But his classes were delivered at a snail's pace in the softest of speaking voices and were very difficult to hear. Added to this was a warm lecture theatre - the afternoon sun would stream through the stained glass windows and bake us - and hard wooden benches, which invariably meant that half of the class, uncomfortable and hot, would seek refuge in sleep.

Our lecturer never digressed from the points listed on the one-sided hand outs, which came complete with a carefully selected reading list featuring many of his own publications.

So when essay deadlines loomed, instead of spending an hour listening to a hand-out being read back to us, it was tempting to persuade a fleet-footed classmate to rush into the lecture theatre, grab a wad of handouts - which would be fairly distributed among fellow skivers - and to then profitably spend the hour reading his textbooks in the library, with enough time for a quick coffee on the way."

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