Don't/Do be THAT guy/girl: Classroom edition

Congrats, Hoosiers! We're a little over halfway through with first semester! And with that being said, after a few weeks, I've been noticing a few things as midterms and group projects are underway... Some are good, some are bad. A lot of classes are different in how things are run, depending on major or course, and it may be a lecture or discussion, so of course there will always be a variation in what is considered appropriate, but generally... you should know what's appropriate in a classroom. If you don't, well then,  here's a list of classroom etiquette: 

DO ask PERTINENT questions

I really appreciate it when classmates ask relevant questions that I may be wanting to know the answer to, but might be too shy to ask. Questions like, "What will our test be like?" "Can you repeat that?" "Can you give us an example?" "What's an epsilon-delta proof?" (No one knows).

Also, please note that that I said pertinent questions. There actually is such a thing as a stupid question. You'd be surprised at the kinds of questions people ask just to ask a question.

DON'T be THAT guy/girl wearing questionable clothing

This is an actual photo my friend tweeted with the caption:  "Since when is it okay to wear a frat skirt to class?"

There's a visible line between appropriate classroom attire and "going out" attire. I believe that people should be able to wear what they want in public, but ultimately, people need to dress accordingly to certain places, occasions, situations, etc. You just shouldn't wear a bodycon skirt, crop top or have your pants sagging in the classroom. Not only is it distracting, but unfortunately, it's harder for your peers to take you seriously in an academic setting. 

DO be on time

It's completely fine to come into class late once or twice, but when you do it every single time... It's not only distracting, but the professor will probably get annoyed.

DON'T be THAT guy/girl picking your nose.

Like seriously, man? Come on. That's not okay.

DO put your phone on silent.

This isn't that big of a deal, but if you have a nonconventional ringtone, for the sake of not embarrassing yourself, put your phone on silent. Seriously. In a big lecture hall once, a girl's phone went off and her ringtone was a CAT MEOWING. I REPEAT, A CAT MEOWING. The weird part was that it got increasing louder as the seconds went by, and people thought there was a legitimate cat in the classroom. Not sure why she let it rang for a good 15 seconds, but just turn your phone off silent. 

Other honorable mentions that I've heard:

  • "My Humps" by Black Eyed Peas
  • "Gangnam Style" by PSY
  • "Bop to the Top" from High School Musical

DON'T be THAT guy/girl talking loudly.

Well okay, I'm not going to say not to talk during class, or else I'd be a hypocrite, but don't talk LOUDLY about what you did this weekend or how the girl/guy you're talking to hasn't texted you back in 5 minutes. Inside voices in the classroom, then whisper if lecture is going on and you absolutely need to say something. 

DON'T be THAT guy/girl who looks up weird stuff during class

Just don't do it. I was in my sociology class one time, just minding my own business, trying to learn about C. Wright Mills, and I notice the guy next to me is looking up ... rather risque stuff on Cosmo... That's not okay. SAVE IT FOR HOME.

DO pull your weight in group projects.

It's only fair to pull your own weight and contribute. Anyways, how are you going to learn anything if you just sit there and do nothing? If you don't pull your weight, I bet everyone in your group project is praying for a group evaluation. 

DON'T be THAT guy/girl who ALWAYS asks for notes.

It's okay to miss a class or two and ask for notes, but when I don't recognize your name because you've missed half of our class meetings, and I get an email on OnCourse that's like, "Hey, does anyone want to send me the notes from the last 5 lectures? Thanks." Be a little responsible, or else expect me to be like: 

DON'T be THAT guy/girl who substitutes perfume/cologne for bathing

Please don't be the person who wears a ton of cologne/perfume or smokes before class. The smell is really distracting, and if you must, then please sit in the back of the classroom. There's nothing worse than sitting behind someone who reeks of smoke or cologne/perfume.

DO be open-minded

Classroom is a great place to learn and develop new ideas. Listen to what's being said, maybe even critique it, but don't critique the person presenting it.

That's all for now! Make your remaining time this semester great!

For more tips on success in the classroom:

About The Author
Catherine HuynhJournalism Major, Class of 2016

My name is Catherine Huynh, and I'm currently a junior at the greatest college in the nation -- Indiana University!

I'm currently pursuing degrees in both Journalism and Communication & Culture, along with a minor in Sociology. I am a Campus Representative Intern for VS PINK at Indiana University, serve as Director of Communications for the Public Relations Student Society of America - Beth Wood Chapter, a Student Ambassador for the Department of Journalism, and I'm also a proud student blogger here at We Are IU!

"The thing I remember best about successful people I've met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they're doing... and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they're doing, and they love it in front of others."  - Fred Rogers

Follow me on Twitter for various news, Hoosier-related things and the occasional random tweets about my favorite TV shows and Justin Timberlake.