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A university of dunces

Janelle Vreeland

In “College in a Nutskull,” Anders Henriksson compiles unintentionally hilarious test answers from US college students

As much as we hate to admit it, our fellow classmates provide us with countless hours of “entertainment” every semester — especially the ones who are always so certain they’re right, but never bother to back it up with actual, factual research.

They’re the ones who’ll argue with professors, insisting upon the truth of ludicrous statements like “the Korean War took place in Vietnam”. Either that, or they put forth so little effort into their essays and work that they come up with remarks that are hilariously zen in their stupidity. If you ever felt the need to laugh at your fellow students, or indulge in some serious schadenfreude, you’re in luck.  Our brilliant classmates’ essay responses and bon mots have been preserved for the sake of posterity in the book College in a Nutskull by author Anders Henriksson.

Henriksson has compiled some of the best, worst and most hilarious answers and essays given by actualy students on tests and in research papers.

With only minor editing, including correcting only the most extreme cases of creative spelling, Henriksson creates an outline/study guide for the readers that covers some of the most important topics in every major subject, including art history, religion, literature and American history.

The result is a collection of the “best” material penned by anonymous college students from around the country, all into one coherent volume. Or, rather, as coherent as a volume can be given the subject matter.

Each page is packed with hilarious nuggets of equal parts smartassery—“Sparta was a place where men were men and women were men”—and dumbassery—“The Middle Ages ended with the Bluebonnet Plague”, which means that readers will undoubtedly collapse into a fit of giggles upon reading some of these absurd answers.

Truly, some of the notes are so pathetic, so painfully inane, that their legitimacy might be thoroughly questioned. However, as Henriksson assures the audience in his introduction, “[t]he prose in this volume belongs entirely to the students.”

Is this generation destined to be a generation of witty humorists and stand-up comedians? Or are many students simply doomed to embarrass their parents by flunking out of community college? Buy College in a Nutskull: A Crash Ed Course in Higher Education by Professor Henriksson and decide for yourself.

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