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Davis, California

Monday, June 24, 2024

Column: Maintaining focus

I regret to say that, for the
first time in my brief college career, I’ve hit academic turbulence this
quarter (I’m a junior). Like Hindenburg that came before me, my combustive
nosedive is an indisputable tragedy and a source of great personal depression.
My image as an immaculate human being — that is, me being flawless in all
regards — will be forever tarnished hereafter.

kidding. I’ll still be flawless, naturally. Because grades, in all their
sinister subjectivity, will hardly hinder me in the long run. Oh wait, yes they
will. They’ll only reflect on me … forever. Or at least as long as I want to
remain in academia. Of course, you’re probably not here to read about my life
issues (you can e-mail me for that, or subscribe to my twitter “JamesOIV” — I
cover broken fingernails to urinary tract infections … and more).

no, really, the point of today’s column is to discuss some of the distractions
students face in regards to academics. Which explains why I’ve opened with an
anecdote of my declining academic performance of late. It’s a prime example,
and the inspiration of this column on my loss of scholarly focus. So keep
reading, struggling students, because I have some vague, mostly unhelpful
insights as follows!

off, I am not mourning the loss of Four Loko. It was a terrible, terrible
drink. Every time I opened a can it was like selling a piece of my soul to
Satan, and every time I took a sip I probably lowered my IQ by one. I’m
probably loitering somewhere in the negatives at this point. George W. Bush is
also a big fan of the Four Loko (zing!). Take that, Bush, you asshole.

as some scientist or whatever probably said somewhere, or something, one of the
leading causes of declining performances in school is too much partying. Some
would say, perhaps, that I have been guilty of as much lately. But how is it my
fault when I, like so many other innocent students, have simply been caught up
in the party hype of the ground-breaking, revolutionary, inspiring alcoholic
beverage known as Four Loko? Students like myself are blatantly innocent, your
honor. The can has shiny colors, luring us children to its candied appearance!
All we wanted to do was take a sip of a nice energy drink, and before we knew
it a slew of brain cells were dead! (May they R.I.P.). If you’ve experienced
similar symptoms, I’d advise you to join me in my suit against Four Loko
(Phusion Projects) for tempting us so irresponsibly.

cause of sudden declines in academic performances, so I’ve surmised with my
remaining brain cells, is the tacking on of new and unfamiliar workloads atop
your previous efforts. This certainly applies to me. Hopefully as some of you are aware,
I’ve recently taken it upon myself to write a column this quarter, which
naturally means I’m constantly swamped. No, not with the writing part of the
job. Pa-lease. Columns are the Wormtail to my Voldemort, the Gollum to my Ring
of Power, the gimp to my Tarantinian basement, the Myspace to my Facebook. A.k.a., I make columns my

real work of
being a columnist is dealing with my newfound public persona. I mean sheesh
people, I’m a human being, too, and a student besides! Autographs and fan mail
aside, the paparazzi are just too much. I need room to breathe, at least. But
don’t get me wrong, the countless BJ offers are flattering. I just get
exhausted, and chaffed (zing! – part two). So people, leave me be. I need to
re-focus! Yes, I am blaming the fans.

but certainly not least, is the biggest academic distraction I’ve faced this
quarter, and what I imagine others face as well: Entering into a new
relationship (yes grandma, it’s true. Yes readers, my grandma does read my
column). What I mean to say is, being in a relationship (at least a new one) is
ridiculously distracting, at least for me. Why? Well, because I have a
ridiculously distracting significant other. I blame her entirely, as should you
for all your failings. You suck at Black Ops? Probably your girl’s fault. You
failed that O-chem test? Definitely your boyfriend’s fault. So do what I do:
Absolve yourself of all responsibility. It’s definitely the fault of external
factors outside your control.

seriously (WARNING: Moral message incoming), I know what has gone wrong this
quarter. I lost focus. Sadly, that’s all there is to it. It isn’t the fault of
Four Loko, not this column, not my girlfriend, not Black Ops and not even “Jersey
Shore.” So the moral of the story: Slacking is for Slack State, not UCD.

O’HARA is a hater by trade, and thus hates upon “Thanksgiving.” E-mail
jpohara@ucdavis.edu if you think giving thanks a fascist notion, or if you have
any interest in joining his conspiracy theory club.


  1. HIDE YO KIDS. HIDE YO WIFE, CAUSE THEY BE INSULTING ERRBODY OUT HERE WITH “CRUDE” COMMENTS. But seriously, MrHemp, I think O’Hara probably MEANT to be crude and write informally…that struck me as… you know, THE POINT (it’s called humor and style, a sort that you obviously don’t agree with).

  2. Lame article. No one cares about your problems. Obviously you weren’t able to focus on writing an interesting article. Your writing is too informal and sometimes comes across as crude. I mean the Bj comment.. come on!


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