By Derek Baker
Welcome to university! You now get to spend time with hoards of like-minded individuals in pursuit of higher education. Congratulations — you are officially an adult. Time to start acting like one.
As a fourth-year student, there are two main places where I feel many people lack basic common decency — lecture theatres and the library. There isn’t a strict, legally binding code of proper campus conduct, but there are certain things you should do to prevent scornful glares from your peers.
Proper lecture etiquette begins before you even enter the classroom. Since you’ll most likely be in courses with a bunch of other first-years — who seem to think it’s necessary get to class 20 minutes early — a whole swarm of students usually crowd the doors to a lecture theatre between classes. This results in massive congestion with people entering or exiting rooms. If you are going into class, wait for the previous class to filter out before entering, just like getting on the train.
Once you’ve entered the theatre, you’re probably looking for the best seat. Maybe you like being up front, maybe you want to sit in the back row or perhaps you want to be in the middle. Though there obviously isn’t a seating plan, after about a week of classes, the spot you sit in becomes your unofficial assigned seat. People will be uncomfortable if they come to class one day and find you in “their seat,” so pick a spot you like right away.
If you are late to class, sit at the first seat available from where you enter. Do not walk down the stairs towards the front or to the middle of the row and disturb the entire class.
During lecture, keep unnecessary questions to a minimum. There are no stupid questions, but there are stupid times to ask them. The professor needs to cover all the material and stalling class with unnecessary questions makes everyone else frustrated. If you’re really stuck, go to office hours or ask after class — your prof would actually love to see you! And for the love of god, do not ask ‘good questions’ that foreshadow where the lecture is heading just to appear smart to the prof. We get it — you did the reading.
The TFDL is a place where you go to get shit done. This building is full of resources to help with your schoolwork. However, since it is one of the busiest places on campus, there are a few rules you should follow out of respect for the people surrounding you.
If you sit at a desk with a library computer and have your own laptop open, you are the worst type of person. Believe it or not, university is expensive and some people choose not to purchase a laptop, so they may need these computers to finish assignments. The same goes for using work computers to watch shows on Netflix.
Leaving your stuff at your workspace is okay if you need to use the washroom or get a quick snack. During busy times when space is limited, however, leaving your stuff out for hours is inconsiderate and entitled. If you see a spot that remains unoccupied for more than half an hour, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask a staff member to clear it off so you can take it.
Chatting quietly to your friends on the first two floors of TFDL is fine. Unless you’re in a quiet study room, those floors aren’t restricted to silent study. The third floor is especially noisy and is where many group projects get done. If you’re someone who needs quiet to study, don’t get pissed that people are talking on this floor. However, anything higher than the third floor is meant for silent study — and the higher you go, the more intense the silence gets. Snagging a spot by the window on the sixth floor can be perfect for cramming some notes into your head between classes, as long as you don’t mind being quiet as a mouse.
There is also the Law Library. This is the most sacred of libraries — even so much as breathing loudly will get you shushed.