Top ten ways to make a good impression on your TA

Very calm, very cool. Nothing wrong here. Illustration: Siloam Yeung / The Peak

By: Maya Beninteso, Peak Associate

  1. Tell them you’ve taken the class five times 

    Brag about your unmatched experience with the course. After all, what’s more impressive than being extremely acquainted with the course content? The paper? Done it. The exam? Taken it so many times to the point where you’ve memorized the short answer questions.

  2. Manifest

    I will make a good impression on my TA. I will make a good impression on my TA. I will make a good impression on my TA. I will make a good impression on my TA. I will make a good impression on my TA. I will make a good impression on my TA.

  3. Actually attend office hours . . . for a quick therapy session

    Chances are, not a single student is attending office hours and your TA is bored. Do them a favour and spice up their abysmal hour on Zoom by telling them your life story. Leave your TA in awe by framing your traumatic experiences as humorous because — admit it — your life is a joke at this point. Bonus points for brave students who use this on your psychology TA. They will either identify with your experience, or you will experience some blatant psychoanalyzing and unqualified diagnoses (yes, plural).

  4. Triple your paper’s word count 

    Fun fact: TAs LOVE it when your paper could double as a textbook. Whoever said quality over quantity simply didn’t have enough to give in the first place. When your TA is still marking your paper at 3:00 a.m. the day they promised grades would be released, I guarantee you they will give you a shout out on a strongly worded Canvas message when they are finished! Write to your heart’s content, because writing an excessive amount of pages is better than being left alone with your thoughts.

  5. Pull a Houdini 

    Impress your TA with your magic skills and disappear from the course! Every time your TA sees your empty seat in tutorial, they will be left in awe! Surely this tip will leave you with a standing ovation (cannot guarantee good academic standing, though).

  6. Pretend you’re the TA

    Come to tutorial prepared with ice-breakers that all students love, and then proceed to ask every single student to share one fun fact about themselves! Your TA will be impressed that you guessed their extremely original lesson plan. The students scour through appropriate fun facts, obviously omitting their shriveling will to stay in the class.  Meanwhile, you meander around the tiny tutorial room and assert your dominance as the new and improved TA. Your TA will likely up and leave with pride as you’ve done their job better than they ever could.

  7. Use “piggybacking off of what [insert name of tutorial member that you will likely get wrong] said” in a sentence. 

    Demonstrate your understanding of what your fellow tutorial member said by repackaging their answer. The sheer act of saying this will result in your TA believing that you know what you’re talking about. Spoiler alert: you don’t, but you don’t want your TA to know that. Your “comprehension” of the course material will shine through if you use this sentence, and will simultaneously lead your TA to believe you are a good student (lol).

  8. Puns. Just puns. 

    TAs will appreciate your passion for the subject, especially when expressed in pun form and executed pun-intentionally. This will look different for every major, but here are some examples:

    Math: Well, that adds up.
    Chemistry: I only make chemistry puns periodically because all of the good ones argon.
    Biology: Don’t cell yourself short.

  9. Ask them all the questions, especially ones answered on the syllabus

    As we all know, TAs are not human beings. They are, in fact, robots that are designed to cater to any question you may have. Ask them about how much an assignment is worth when it is clearly stated in the course outline. Bonus points if you do so repeatedly, because they will be flabbergasted by your curiosity and inability to, I don’t know, read. All in all, they will be impressed . . . that you got into university.

  10. Drop out

    This is your sign. Do it. It will impress your TAs because they never had the guts to do it themselves. Maybe this is my sign. You know, I’ve been pondering the meaning of life as I sit here in the pits of my mind, and in the pit of the Avocado. What is success anyway? I don’t need a degree to be successful. Though, my family might give me the third degree should I drop out. But I mean, yeah, I’m gonna do it. I’m finally going to pursue my dream of having my own farm and living a peaceful yeehaw life.