College Etiquette

I’ve been in college for two and a half years now and I’ve picked up on some things. Going to college at a huge, public university has been a great experience. Don’t like the kid you’re sitting next to today? That’s fine, there’s 398 more to pick from tomorrow. Looking to meet some new people? Good! You’ve got 30,000 to pick from!

Okay, I admit, it’s not that easy to conquer the college lifestyle. With lots of people come lots of random encounters. Hopefully this guide will find you success in all your college endeavors.

Bathroom etiquette

If you’re a male and you’re looking to use the public facilities, god help you. We all know the ‘every-other-urinal’ rule. And, if you don’t, well, you’re going to make my bathroom experience pretty damn awkward. If you’re going to use a stall be sure to open the door as aggressively as possible, this lets everyone know you’re here. As a general rule though, go at home and stay away from these bathrooms.

But, sometimes we have little choice, especially in the dorms (luckily they clean those daily). Rest assured, the price you pay to use the public restrooms will be rewarded with clever newsletters posted to the walls and stall doors. Read slowly and enjoy these because they’ll remain for two months. If you’ve solved the riddle, do not, write the solution on the newsletter. This is both rude and frustrating to those of us spending 3 days a week trying to solve them.

Oh, and if you’re in the dorms and going out tonight, be sure to make a mess all over the counters. In the dorms, you’re more important than everyone around you. Your mess is for someone else to deal with. I hate people who try to convince me otherwise; this isn’t the “real world” or anything, assholes.

Guys, despite popular belief, it’s not cool to go up to the girls floors and wait for shower time. This is terribly taboo. Heaven help you if you brought your folding chair. Now you’re just being tactless.

Holding open doors

When you’re in college you’re important. You’re the future of the world. The fate of society rests on your shoulders. Be sure to remember that when I hold the door open for you. If you’re to acknowledge my act of kindness you’re going to bring yourself down to my level. This is to be avoided at all costs.

Holding the door open for someone else is obviously out of the question. By keeping the doors open longer than necessary you’re being extremely wasteful. Air conditioning is not cheap and every time you take a test in an obsessively hot room you can thank those assholes letting out all the cold air.

Walking around campus

Everyone drives on the right side of the road. The same should be observed when walking. This makes it easier for everyone to get from A to B. If you happen to encounter someone on the wrong side it’s best to show them they’re out of place by walking straight towards them and then shuffling left-right-left as if to politely avoid them. If you’re lucky they’ll perform the same dance and end up in the same spot as you. This social awkwardness is necessary to remind them they crossed the boundary.

If you’re a male walking on a narrow brick path along the grass and a female is approaching it’s customary to get off the path at least 20 meters in advance and walk in the grass (slash mud, slash snow). This is common sense because women deserve the nice brick path; by all means, do not treat them as equals. There are exceptions to this rule, though. If you’re a prick or listening to your iPod be sure to ignore everyone around you and maintain your course. Guys, if a female beats you and jumps off the path you do not remain on the path. You must still walk in the grass in order to symbolize your good intent. She may even make eye contact if you’re to do this. A glance from a girl on a campus of 40,000 is worth sacrificing a few blades of grass, I assure you.

Speaking in class

If you’re ridiculously smart (you know who you are) then, by all means, raise your hand at every opportunity made available. Professors love students that participate. Students love peers who can impart wisdom upon them. It’s like a value-added bonus to the college experience.

As a general rule, you need to speak slowly. This makes the class pass quickly and painlessly. If you’re talking about a very simple subject be sure to say the same thing once or twice during your monologue. This ensures every member of the class can understand your dense commentary. If you’re looking to get noticed be sure to counter and argue everyone’s points; especially the professor’s. You have no idea how cool it is when people come up to you at parties and know you as ‘the guy in my stats class who proved the teacher wrong’.

Cell phones

This may just be the most important section so pay close attention. Cell phones are to be used as badges of popularity. If you’re walking between classes and you’re not on the phone, you’re obviously a loser. In fact, pick up your phone and call someone to “see how they’re doing” just to make sure people know you have friends to talk to. This is win-win because it’ll also make your friends feel appreciated because you thought of them when you had nothing better to do.

When in an extremely loud area it can be hard to hear your conversation. If it’s a very important dialogue be sure to step into a quiet area, preferably a computer lab, library, or lounge and maintain your conversation at it’s previous volume level. This ensures the people around you notice your presence, popularity, and importance. Don’t take any less than three minutes to maintain this conversation, even if it requires going around the same point once or twice. If you can, be sure to laugh loudly; people who smile are seen as more attractive.

I’ve only touched on a few of the key experiences that college will bring and I hope it brings you good fortune. If you have any questions or additional tips please leave them in the comments.