Ted tells his parents he did poorly on his chemistry test. They tell him he needs to get serious and study more.
Susan: How was your day at school today, Ted?
Ted: Bad. I had a chemistry test, and I blew it!
Susan: Maybe if you didn’t cut class so often, you’d do better.
Bob: That’s right, son. Stop slacking off and start hitting the books!
Ted: But I can’t stand chemistry class. Besides, it’s a lost cause. That class is way over my head.
Susan: You need to buckle down.
Ted: When I’m a famous musician, people won’t give a hoot about my knowledge of atoms and molecules.
Bob: That’s beside the point.
Susan: We know you have your heart set on going to New York University.
Bob: And you don’t stand a chance of getting in there with such poor grades!

Idioms in the story

beside the point – not relevant; not important
EXAMPLE 1: Whether or not I asked the waiter to bring us water is beside the point. Waiters should always bring water to the table.
EXAMPLE 2: The reason you’re late is beside the point. The fact is, your dinner is now cold.

(to) blow something – to spoil or botch something
EXAMPLE 1: Brenda blew the interview and didn’t get the job offer.
EXAMPLE 2: Randy managed to get a date with the most popular girl in his class. Now I hope he doesn’t blow it!

(to) buckle down – to start working seriously
EXAMPLE 1: If Don buckles down now, he might be able to graduate from high school this year.
EXAMPLE 2: Team, if we want to win this tournament, we’re going to need to buckle down!

can’t stand – to hate
EXAMPLE 1: Bob can’t stand bureaucrats, so he’d never do well working at a large corporation.
EXAMPLE 2: Nicole can’t stand broccoli. She simply refuses to eat it.

(to) cut class – to miss class without an excuse
EXAMPLE 1: Ted often cuts class to spend more time with his girlfriend.
EXAMPLE 2: If you keep cutting French class, you’re going to fail it.

Get real! – be serious or realistic about what’s going on
EXAMPLE 1: You think you won’t get a speeding ticket when you drive 85 miles per hour? Get real!
EXAMPLE 2: You think you’re going to win $1 million in the lottery? Get real!

(to) have one’s heart set on – to really want something
EXAMPLE 1: Nicole has her heart set on going to New York this weekend.
EXAMPLE 2: Did you really have your heart set on going to Harvard?

(to) hit the books – to start studying
EXAMPLE 1: Ted partied all weekend. Finally, on Sunday night, he decided it was time to hit the books.
EXAMPLE 2: Hit the books! I know you have a test tomorrow.

lost cause – something hopeless
EXAMPLE 1: Cindy spent five years studying Russian. Finally, she realized it was a lost cause. She would never learn it.
EXAMPLE 2: Jack needs to stop drinking so much coffee, but he’s so addicted to caffeine that it’s a lost cause.

(to) not give a hoot – to not care about
EXAMPLE 1: Tom likes to walk around town in his pajamas — he doesn’t give a hoot what people think.
EXAMPLE 2: Stephanie doesn’t give a hoot if she’s the only one wearing a green dress to the high school prom.
SYNONYMS: to not give a damn; to not give a darn

over one’s head – beyond one’s understanding
EXAMPLE 1: The professor was speaking over our heads. None of us could understand him.
EXAMPLE 2: The article on cloning was written for scientists. It was over my head.

(to) slack off- to waste time
EXAMPLE 1: Amanda doesn’t get much done at the office. She’s too busy slacking off.
EXAMPLE 2: I’d better stop slacking off. My essay is due in two hours.
NOTE: People who slack off all the time are called “slackers.”

(to) stand a chance – to have the possibility of success
EXAMPLE 1: Although the American figure skaters were good, they didn’t stand a chance of winning a gold medal at the Olympics.
EXAMPLE 2: Wilton High School has the best soccer team in the state. I’m afraid we don’t stand a chance against them!