The four commandments of lecture hall etiquette
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Thou shalt not sit at the edge of the row
Shimmying past a group of seated people is as difficult as an Olympic-grade obstacle course. You have to avoid knocking knees, impaling yourself against the back of the row in front of you and stepping on valuable belongings in the attempt to flail your way to an empty seat. All the while, you’re stiffly leaning forward and praying to God that your backpack won’t accidentally smack someone in the face and give them cause to sue. While there are some exceptions to this golden rule (say, if you happen to be left-handed, or if all the seats in the middle have already been taken, in which case this rule is void), be considerate and move in. Otherwise, if someone backpacks you in the face, it’s only karma.
Thou shalt not hog half the row of seats
While it’s definitely nice to be surrounded by your friends, remember that you’re not in lecture to have a reunion. You’re there to learn, which can be done no matter where you sit, and regardless of whether everyone in your crew is accounted for. Your obligation is not to be the designated usher for everyone you know, but to be considerate of the general public (i.e. your class). So if you decide to look out for your friends, then please, for the love of all that is good, divide and conquer. Don’t be that one person who takes up seven seats. Limit yourself to maybe one or two seats beside you, and meet up with everyone else after class is over. If that ends your friendship, then good riddance.
Thou shalt not leave drinks on the floor
This is Murphy’s Law in action. You’re placing your half-finished coffee in the vicinity of a bunch of limbs whose main purpose is to kick things over. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next. Once you spill your coffee (and you will, inevitably, spill your coffee), it becomes a nuisance for you to clean it up. Since a lot of lecture halls are slanted, you’ve not only effectively forced all the following classes held in that lecture hall to wonder which jerk committed this indecency, but you’ve allowed it to spread. So either put it on the seat’s desk beside you or hold it securely. It might even be less of a hassle to wait until after class, where you can actually enjoy your beverage.
Thou shalt not speak over the professor
Nothing is worse than making the commendable feat of actually going to lecture, only to find that you can hardly hear anything the prof is saying. No one wants to hear you gossip about how wasted you got last weekend or whether so-and-so is interested in you. If a lack of general privacy for your personal affairs doesn’t concern you, then ask yourself why you’re in lecture in the first place if you don’t intend to learn. You are in a room filled with bleary-eyed faces, all of whom are copying down notes in attempt to actually be effective with their time. It’s time to have some respect for your peers. So put on your keener jeans and kindly zip it, or take the rest of your conversation outside.