Spectacular failure

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See also Fail.

Failure so complete and so final that it is awe-inspiring. Not something that occurs accidentally, you have to exert some effort to pull this off.


  • Be somewhat mentally ill. Use University Writing writing assignments as an opportunity to threaten and intimidate your professor. This is a risky method, as it may result in incarceration as well as a grade of F.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, show up to class more than 2-3 times per semester.
  • Instructions for exams and assignments are really just guidelines. Since you are special, you can bend the rules considerably.
  • Use essay assignments as a means for unmitigated self-expression. That is, don't bother writing about anything even tangentially related to the class. Write about what you want to write about.
  • The same goes for exams. An exam is an opportunity for you to express yourself. Draw a picture or a diagram. Monkeys and Robots are acceptable.


The following are actual examples from a disgruntled TA attempting to grade a spectacular failure's paper.

This fucker used 2" margins and only wrote 2.5 pages (supposed to be 4-6). I am sensing an F here.

2/25 - F. His lines didn't even go to the end of the margins. He had no argument and didn't answer any parts of the question. What an ass. I can't believe that he tried to pass this off even. It's clearly stated that it should be 4-6 pages, double-spaced. He gives me 2.5 pages with 2" margins. One quote alone took up 1/4 of the paper.

Here is the beginning:

Historically, our world changes over time. Geographically, it does from the desert to the seas. Most importantly, our world has been changed and still is changing politically.

Just came upon another paper, which I am not even going to grade. This guy must be a fucking lunatic. Maybe he didn't know that he had to answer a certain question, so he just ranted for 6 pages, writing stuff like:

The Bolsheviks, who took their name from the Hebrew "be kind to animals" worked vigorously in their mines, exploring weapons, lasers, and technology.

I think this guy might be insane. His was a very odd paper. I can't even grade it.

I gave him a 0/25 in the end.


Obviously there are serious consequences for such a poor performance: but true spectacular failures don't get just get academic probation, they get asked to leave. Academic probation is for saved for individuals the administration believes may be rehabilitated.

The spectacular failure's only option if they wish to stay is to convincingly fake a serious medical issue (physical or mental.) Under these circumstances, there is a slim chance that the administration will wipe the slate clean and give the spectacular failure a second chance.