Don’t be that person

By Katerina Mansour, Staff Writer

Published in print Feb. 25, 2015

In college classrooms and social gatherings we often come across people who make our teeth grind and our blood boil. Chances are, during your time at UNCG you’ve come across people in your classes who could literally drive you mad. Then again, chances are you’ve been that person as well. This article isn’t aimed at attacking anyone, quite simply it is a reminder to all of us that our behavior does not go unnoticed. Perhaps we can think twice before engaging in certain habits that can be extremely annoying to others. Let’s work on our social skills, and act appropriately in our college classes. Here’s a list of a few things that come to mind.

5. Eating a full on meal in class. I don’t care if you need to grab a candy bar, chips, an apple, or some other small snack to make it through the day. But, when you start bringing in full Chick-Fil-A, Au Bon Pain, Salsaritas, or whatever other cooked meal into class, we’re going to have a problem. I don’t pay tuition to sit in a classroom that reeks of your food and listen to you smack and chew obnoxiously while I’m struggling to hear what the professor is trying to say. We all have crazy schedules, we’ve all had semesters where breakfast and lunch just weren’t easy options. There’s a level of respect for your surroundings that is completely violated in these situations. When you’re coming into class with your meal you’re either going to piss off those who think it smells obnoxious and don’t want to deal with listening to you, or you’re going to torture those who are starving and would really like to have a nice meal right now too. Not to mention how the Professor feels.

4. Whispering incessantly with your neighbors. You have this class with other friends? Enjoy chatting with your seat buddies? That’s awesome, but once class has started and the professor has begun lecturing, it’s time for you to be quiet. We all know how great it is to share a class with old or new friends, but there’s, yet again, a level of decorum owed both to your peers and your professor. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be lecturing a group of students and have a bunch of them openly ignore you and chat amongst themselves. It’s so insulting and unnecessary. If you have something cool to say related to the material, raise your hand and ask to share it with the class. Otherwise, you’re being “that person” that everyone rolls their eyes about and is sick of being around.

3. Browsing the internet on your laptop or phone during class. It’s so incredibly distracting and annoying when 10 people in the rows in front of you are taking Snapchat selfies or browsing Facebook while you’re trying to pay attention to class. “Just ignore them then!” Well, we all know it’s not that easy. As humans we’re easily distracted. On top of that, I’ve heard many people tell stories about classmates watching porn and other ridiculously inappropriate things in class. Not only does it suck (no pun intended) because you’re being obnoxious and distracting your peers, but these recurring attitudes are also the reason many professors will not allow laptop use of any sort during their class. So students who work better by taking notes on their laptop are being punished because of the poor manners others have incessantly exhibited in class.

2. Thinking you know better than the professor. Professors are not all-knowing beings, none of us are. However, being “that person” who constantly corrects a professor or starts arguments with them over material they believe they know more about is just crossing the line. If you think your professor has made a legitimate mistake and is giving you false information, there’s a proper path to follow. Smart mouthing a professor, and constantly interrupting class in an attempt to display your intelligence will accomplish the exact opposite. Nobody wants to be labeled a “know it all” and few of us want to be around one. I’m not discouraging discourse. By all means, please contribute your thoughts and ideas, this is necessary for a positive class dynamic. But don’t do it in an attempt to demean your professor or classmates and act like you’re superior to everyone around you. Reminds me of that famous Abraham Lincoln quote: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

1. Trying to be the “class clown” and constantly interrupting everyone. It’s great when you get to make jokes in class and laugh with your professor and classmates. It isn’t so great however when one student seems to take it too far by interrupting everyone including the professor during each class to try and make those laughs happen. Moderation is something that can be applied to almost everything in this world and it needs to be applied to classroom behavior as well. Cracking jokes is fine, but limit yourself to those moments where it seems they might really add something to the class or truly be appropriate. When you start rambling in class about your personal life, or other anecdotes to try and get a laugh out of everyone, you’re really just going to make the whole room uncomfortable and irritated. More so if you are continuously interrupting the professor as they are trying to teach, in order to make these jokes or commentaries. Please, stop trying so hard to be the “funny” person of the classroom. Relax, feel the vibe around you and you’ll be more likely to find the right time to be funny and thus be appreciated by your classmates.

Categories: Katerina Mansour, Opinions

1 reply

  1. Very well done. What a refreshing change of tone and a stellar articulation of the appropriate code of conduct for a university classroom. Although I have not had a lot of trouble with inappropriate student behavior in the classroom, I have heard many of my colleagues complain about all the points you listed in your column. I want to commend you for pointing out all these issues. Several faculty I know are applauding you for standing up for these issues and I just wanted you to know your work has not gone unnoticed. You have a bright future in front of you – very well written!


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