On Wednesday, the University’s Chemistry Department announced a new major requirement for its students: shorthand. While this note-taking technique admittedly disappeared forty years ago, the department is excited about the prospects this change brings.
Currently, a typical pre-lab consists of an experiment and its materials, followed by several hundred pages of vaguely related material and intense theory too in-depth for a graduate program. Thanks to the long-standing relationship between the chemistry department and the Anti-Tree Society of America, students copy the entire lab manual, including charcoal sketches and works of speculative fiction, instead of just bringing the manual to lab.
Long dissatisfied with the breadth of information covered, the department turned to shorthand, a note-taking method invented to let secretaries quickly record their bosses’ long-winded rants. Now, the noble art of shorthand will be used by chemistry students to cram as much tangentially related information as possible into one notebook.
“We can finally assign pre-labs that capture every single concept and process the students are not actually doing,” said lab director Valerie Keller, adding that the new manuals will go into “excruciating detail” on subjects like “string theory, the French Wars of Religion, and the entire rulebook for D&D,” all of which students will copy by hand. The department gave no comment when asked whether they would be adding a physical therapy course requirement so students could learn to regain use of their hand.
In a focus group last month, students testing the new manuals entered a fugue state wherein they failed to notice the full copy of War and Peace pasted into the middle of a discussion on Babylonian education. To prevent wasting paper, the University has sent the copies to print as the “Extra Depressing” edition of the Tolstoy classic.