1) Procrastinate. Spend hours in the library café, dining hall, friends’ rooms—anywhere to distract you from even attempting to get work done. When you finally do sit down in front of your computer, browse Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media sites and blogs ad infinitum. Eventually begin school work sometime after midnight. Convince yourself that you are a night owl: “This is when I get my best work done.
2) Feel inferior. Tell yourself you’re not smart enough to be here; think everyone else deserves to be at Harvard more than you. Your work is crap. You are crap. Let low grades or a low GPA define you. Let this feeling of inferiority color your world and affect your abilities. Start skipping class and turning in assignments late. Give less than your best because you truly believe your best wouldn’t be good enough anyway.
3) Sleep in—even though you told yourself that today you’d make it to all of your classes. On a good day, wake up around 11:00 a.m. Wake up in the afternoon if you’re feeling too depressed to get out of bed. Only show up to classes where attendance is taken. When present, be absent, not really following along. Feel extreme relief when class is over. Retreat back to bed.
4) Do all these things in disguise. Joke with friends. Overcommit to extracurricular activities. Pass by acquaintances on the street: Smile, wave, and cheerfully call out, “Hey, let’s grab lunch sometime!” Wish you knew how to ask for help rather than spout meaningless greetings. Wish you had the words to explain. Fear that asking for help would validate your inferiority, not your strength. Perfect the art of barely holding yourself together.
5) Repeat daily.