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Ms. Ellis’s lifehacks: up your staple game

graphic by Jena English and Alex '16
graphic by Jena English and Alex ’16

A Marlborough education is admirably broad in scope. Despite that, I have become concerned that Marlborough girls are not learning an important, nay, critical life skill. What could it be? How to put down a backpack without completely blocking a passageway? How to manage your valuable personal items in a world without the Honor Code and the Understanding? How to sit appropriately in a short skirt? All good guesses, indeed, but no. What I’m concerned about is the widespread lack of stapling skills in Marlborough students.

That’s right, many of you do not know how to staple. It’s shocking, I know, but it’s true. Perhaps it’s one of those things that you were just never taught. Maybe you missed that day in elementary school. Maybe you just don’t care. But you should care. Imagine the potential consequences of poor stapling. A page of your essay could be lost. Portions of your lab report may be unreadable. A simple stapling error makes your hard work look bad, and that just might be the difference between getting a smiley face drawn on the top of your assignment or an actual frowning face from the teacher when you get your work back.

Could you be one of the stapling-impaired? Don’t dismiss the possibility. Instead, read and follow the tips below to become a stapling pro.

Actually staple papers that need to be kept together. Sometimes teachers get multi-page assignments that aren’t stapled at all! It’s a recipe for disaster. But let’s assume you do attempt to staple. There are still things you need to be aware of.

Your staple should be near the edge of the paper. Have you ever noticed that the papers from the photocopier have their staples near the edge? There’s a reason for that. A staple located too far in will make it impossible to read part of each page after the first page has been folded back. Imagine that from a teacher’s point of view. If she wants to read what you wrote, she has to remove your poorly-placed staple, possibly scratching herself in the process, and re-staple your paper. Is that the frame of mind you want her to be in when she reads your brilliant commentary on the Bill of Rights?

A staple should go through all of the pages that you want to staple together. Again, it’s seemingly obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this simple fact is overlooked. Make sure you line up all the papers in an even stack before you staple. A page that is too low or too far to the right might not get stapled to the rest of the papers. It is a potentially lost page. That’s a staple fail.

When using the stapler, push on the end of the stapler, not in the middle. You will have more power if you push directly above where the staple comes out. Use a fast motion. Slow motion stapling attempts seldom end well.

As the School and the world gravitates toward submitting more work online, you will have even fewer opportunities to practice your stapling, which means you’ll be less prepared when that crucial stapling moment arrives. And make no mistake, it will arrive. So take my advice and start perfecting your stapling now. You’ll thank me later.