For the first couple weeks of classes at Illinois, students are bombarded with syllabi that contain the words “participation points” in bold underline. Participation points require that you attend class, overcome your suffocating social anxiety, and have a functioning brain at 9 a.m. If you can meet these qualifications and don’t want to fail ENGL 101, here are 10 ways to participate in class discussion without talking.
10.) Cue the Air Horn:
Contrary to popular belief, the air horn sound effect is not just for rare buzzer beaters at Illini basketball games or your roommate’s DJ Khaled Spotify playlist. You can download an air horn app for your phone or snag an air horn from the dollar store. Your teacher may consider participation via air horn as a form of torture, and they’d be right.
9.) Hand Puppets:
It’s safe to assume most Illini students, after $40,000 in tuition, can’t afford a professional marionette. However, you can make your own hand puppets for free. As soon as the creepy sock hand puppets come out, your professor and peers will thank you kindly to never participate again.
8.) Sign Language:
This may seem offensive, and it most certainly is. But if you took Intro to ASL as a blow off class and want to show off your newfound talent, who’s going to stop you? Certainly not your professor, unless they’re fluent in sign language know that you can only make the sign for “boobs.”
7.) Interpretive Dance:
Put the moves you learned from your DANC 100 class to work with this alternative form of participation. Don’t be afraid to flail those limbs like your peers aren’t gaping at you in horror.
An alternative way to flail those limbs is through the traditional game of charades. If your HIST 172 teacher asks about the War of 1812, act out the battle by yourself for the entirety of the 50-minute class. Don’t be surprised when the professor throws roses at your feet and never makes you participate again.
5.) Primitive Grunting:
Our ancestors communicated this way, and so do sloshed frat boys at Lion on a Saturday night. Get back to your roots by emitting sounds that only a feral child found in the nearby cornfields would make.
4.) Always Have Your Mouth Full:
Much like the regret a waiter feels after asking a customer with a stuffed face “How’s the food?” make your professor feel bad for asking you to participate by constantly shoveling food in your mouth. Muffled noises between bites of your overpriced sandwich from Espresso Royale should suffice.
3.) Retract Your Hand Raise:
Nothing makes a professor feel stupider than calling on a student and then realizing said student was just scratching their head or jacking off or something. Gaslight your professor by raising your hand and then pretending you were just stretching.
2.) Sexual Favors:
This should only be used as a last-ditch effort. If you never show up for class and still want to pass, it’s time to show your professor what “dat mouf do,” besides actively participate in discussion, of course. If you have your professor hitting the high notes like the Altgeld bell tower, you know you’ve earned your “A.”
1.) Edible Bribery:
Another way to play dirty is to bring a box or two of donuts into class and slyly set them on your professor’s desk. Sometimes it’s actually a good idea to feed the hand that bites you, especially if that hand holds the pen that might mark your participation points with a big, fat “F.”