Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Reverse Psychology

Maybe Monday just makes everyone grumpy. (I know it is Tuesday, but we are on a Monday schedule here.) This morning, I had a student come in who is on Academic Warning. Granted, her GPA is just slightly lower than it ought to be, but she is required to see me nonetheless. Now, I gave her what I thought was good advice about outlining and exam preparation, but every suggestion I made was met with an (albeit somewhat passive-aggressive) argument. I was worried that she would go off and do exactly the opposite of what I advised. 

Then, I had an e-mail correspondence with another student who wrote something to effect of, “I suppose I need to schedule yet another meeting with you.” Gosh, I am flattered; do you say that to your dentist too? I mean, really, how snarky is that? And how could I answer it without seeming uptight and angry (which I was)?

So I have decided to use reverse psychology with these students (because I too am grumpy). You know, the old, “whatever you do, don’t wear a coat in the snow” method our parents used on all of us. (Bugs Bunny also made it popular; Elmer Fudd could never resist.) Here are some examples of statements I am thinking of trying with my more troubled students:

  1. Please go out and buy some commercial outlines in lieu of making your own. Also, please buy the big study guides and read them in lieu of your casebook.
  2. Whatever you do, don’t go to class. Not today, not next week, never!!!!!!!
  3. Don’t even think about December exams until January. Also, don’t think about them unless you are on a beach far, far away.
  4. Cramming sure does work in law school. Read nothing now, no payments until the night before the exam.
  5. Multiple choice, shmultiple choice. B is always the answer. Don’t bother practicing them.
  6. Do take that class with Professor Failsemall. You are likely to be in the 50% of the class that passes, fate being what it is.
  7. Practice questions are for wussies. Are you a wussy? Of course you aren’t.
  8. Weekends aren’t for studying. Don’t you follow some sport and imbibe some mood altering substance? That’s what the weekend is for.
  9. Don’t talk to your professors outside of class. Didn’t you know that the cooties are far more contagious in a smaller space?
  10. Library? Right here in this building? No kidding-go figure.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll just get some more coffee and try typing my responses wearing my Mr. Rogers sweater; I find it very soothing. (ezs)

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