How to: leave a tutorial with any positivity

Matthew Palmer offers some pearls of wisdom to anyone emerging from a tutorial

So you’ve just finished a tutorial. Perhaps you’ve aced it. Your essay/problem sheet/presentation was brilliant, you had an answer to every question your tutor threw at you, you contributed meaningfully to the discussion and even said something mildly-insightful. Great. Leave the room buzzing with energy, take the rest of the day off and go pour yourself a glass of your favourite poison in celebration.

Perhaps that happened.

Or – more likely – it didn’t. You didn’t prepare enough for the tute, your pathetic excuse for an essay was a half-arsed, inchoate mess that made little sense under even the most casual scrutiny, and it was obvious that you didn’t have anything worthwhile to say in the following debate. Worse, you probably had to be rescued from your tutor’s polite inquisition by your fellow students. The tute crawled along as you prayed to be released from the pit of shame. Let’s be honest, you fucked it.

Well, now what do you do?

You could go to your room and sulk/cry/rage over a cup of tea and Tesco’s own-brand biscuits, which is probably what you feel like doing. This has the benefit of allowing you to wallow in self-pity for an hour or two, but, in the end, this will probably just leave you in a state of dull misery for the rest of the week, dreading your next encounter with the arch-inquisitor. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Better would be for you to talk to your tute partners. Chances are, even if you thought you were the only one in the room to fail miserably, at least one other student went through the same hell. Even better if it turns out the entire group hated every moment – then you can have a good old-fashioned bitching session about the tormentor, and laugh off the fact that you messed up. And once that is done, make it your mission to ace the next tute. Go listen to some motivational tunes, hit the library early each morning, put in the extra graft, and send off your work way before the deadline. Passively-aggressively dare your tutor not to give you a decent grade this time.

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Feeling better? Good. Now pour yourself a glass anyway – you’ll probably need it. And let’s face it – it could be worse. You could do a science degree.

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