By Evan Lewis, September 7 2018 —
With the new semester now underway, the University of Calgary is now offering self-discipline free to any interested in downloading it from the myUCalgary home page. The application is available to all U of C students, faculty and staff.
When asked about the reasoning behind offering this new option, graduate student Alison Guinness, who first proposed the program back in December 2017, said, “Because you need it, you slacker.”
“Not you in particular,” she clarified. “But everyone. A recent study of university students in Canada found that every single student is a lazy, good-for-nothing deadbeat. Scientifically speaking, of course. The study also showed that your parents are disappointed in your life choices and your father in particular has never been impressed by your lack of grit.”
A beta version of the program was offered to students taking courses during block week at the end of August. During the trial period, the development group behind the technology was able to work through a few bugs.
“These beta testers became wildly productive,” lead developer Joaquim Madeira told us. “Their schedules were impeccable and they had everything handed in days early. They ended up making everyone else look bad. They would try to organize their friend’s schedules to be as incredible as they were. They alienated everyone. They kept saying, ‘I don’t need friends! Who needs friends when you’re getting so much done?’ ”
In response to some of these issues, the developers were forced to tone down the program a little.
“Users can now expect the effects of this newfound motivation to wear off around the beginning of October,” Madeira explained. “While we wish this could be changed, we also expect that most students won’t notice much difference from when they normally lose all hope. In fact, this may be a better option for those who usually succumb to apathy within the first week of classes.”
The download is a hefty 11 gigabytes. While this will certainly take up a large chunk of the student brain’s limited processing power, there’s a good reason the program needs so much space.
The system works by overwriting just about everything that makes a student function ordinarily. Typical cerebral functions are replaced with diligence, competence and a stunning ability to know what day of the week it is. Crippling fear of failure is also reduced, along with a phenomenon that the developers have nicknamed “the pre- and post-junk food lazy spell.”
“We had to build the system from the ground up,” Madeira said. “We discovered during development that most students here don’t even have a little bit of willpower. Getting up in the morning, taking a shower and not completely zoning out in class. It just isn’t how we live our lives. We had to figure out how to introduce all that into a brain and body that, ultimately, doesn’t want to do anything at all.”
This article is part of our humour section.