Anyone that has ever sat through a college class can usually pinpoint the most disruptive person in the classroom. We all know this type of person. They repeatedly get up and leave the room for several minutes, only to return stomping their feet and slamming the door. Their cell phone is constantly vibrating on the desk next to yours or they are secretly listening to their IPOD in one ear. Sometimes their behavior becomes so distracting it can actually take away from your own learning experience. So if you are a freshman and entering into the new world of college classes, here are five easy classroom etiquette rules to follow.
First off, the most distracting thing in a college classroom is cell phone usage. Many students try to text under the desk or sneak out for a quick call. There are rare times when you must respond to someone or are waiting for an important call. However, when you are texting every five minutes and the constant vibration of your phone causes the entire class to look your way, you should know it’s time to stop. Many professors have now implemented a no cell phone usage rule during class time into their sylabi. Some professors could care less what you do with your cell phone, because, in the end, it is your grade that will suffer. Others go as far as answering it for you in the event that it should ring. Unless it is a true emergency, leave the texting and calling for after class. Whatever you are texting cannot be that important.
Secondly, I know that there are times when you have four classes back to back and don’t have time for a lunch break. It is perfectly understandable to bring a sandwich or snack with you to class. However, try to snack quietly and quickly. Nobody wants to hear you slurping down a huge Sheetz slushie or chomping on a chili dog. And please clean up after yourself. You are in college now. The person beside you doesn’t want to get their arm in your leftovers.
Third, arrive to class on time. This is probably one of the biggest complaints that are voiced by professors and fellow students. There is always that one student who arrives exactly three minutes after class starts. Usually they are complaining that they just can’t seem to get out of bed (and it’s a 12:00 class). They open and slam the door shut before trying to find a seat in a crowded classroom. Usually the professor will go over assignments or work due during the first few minutes. The professor must then repeat everything for just that one late person. Just allow yourself five extra minutes to get to class, and you will save everyone around you the annoyance of hearing the professor talk about the upcoming paper again.
Fourthly, keep your gossiping to a minimal during class. People around you will be trying to take notes and listen to the lecture. If you and your friend are talking about the party you went to last night, it will be distracting. Save your chit chat for after class. It is distracting and just plain rude to your classmates and the professor.
And for the last classroom etiquette rule, do not decide to take a cat nap during class. In the unfortunate event that the professor sees you, he/she will embarrass you and make a spectacle out of it. I remember sitting in a 6:00 evening class, and the professor was very against any sort of distractions. A young man was supposed to give a presentation but instead fell asleep. After several attempts to wake him, a fellow classmate started screaming “fire.” He jumped from his seat, and everyone made fun of him the rest of the semester. Usually a class isn’t more than an hour, so just stay awake. You can pretend to listen to the rambling of the professor if you must.
As you enter your first college class, you will immediately become aware of the people that will cause the most distractions over the next few months. However, if you follow these simple rules, you can ensure that your classmates will like you a lot better, you will never be embarrassed, or have a professor mad at you.
Note: Be sure to check out our newest blogs! Due to reader interest, we’ve just started one specifically about college textbooks. We’ll be gradually getting some helpful content up on there. We’ve also started one that will be scouring the web looking for helpful tips on obtaining college grants & scholarships as well as discussing other financial aid options (including – ouch! – student loans). Stay tuned!