Large lectures are an unavoidable aspect of the college experience. But while students are busy trying to ace Computer Science 61A or Chemistry 1, they earn a failing grade in How to Sit in a Lecture Hall 101. You would think students would have mastered the art early on, but unfortunately, even seniors continue to commit the most common of sins associated with choosing and using a seat. We at the Clog, who ourselves are guilty of some of these, are ready to address one of the most underdiscussed problems at Berkeley — lecture hall etiquette.
Don’t sit at the edge until the end!
There is no greater sigh-inducing sight than walking into class and seeing hundreds of empty seats only to be blocked by students concentrated at the entrances. After some 12 instances of needing to awkwardly extend your legs over peoples’ backpacks through a tiny opening made even tinier by pulled out desks, we figured there must be a better way. Well, there is a better way. All it takes is everyone deciding to scoot down to the end of the aisle. When there are seats available, they should be accessible. If you need to leave lecture early for some reason, then by all means reserve the last seat, but do so without actually sitting in it until the masses have all sat down.
Don’t get too comfortable!
A notebook, a pencil and a water bottle are all you really need for a one-hour lecture. You do not need a box of snacks, a pillow or your cosmetics out on your desk to help you get by. You are choosing a seat, not moving into an apartment; don’t get too comfy. If you ever wondered why you kept getting scowls from the people around you, now you know why. Not only do they have to fight with your blanket for the armrest, but they have to stay focused whilst continually getting distracted by the smell of your Top Dog.
No laptops in the front row!
You would think students would try to avoid displaying their personal matters out in the open in front of hundreds of students all eager for a distraction from the lecture. Alas, too often here at Cal, people’s Facebook gossip, Twitter feeds, vacation planning and otherwise private matters are presented like show and tell. Bringing a laptop to class is a great asset in one’s learning. But with that great power comes great responsibility, such as the responsibility to not drag everyone down when you decide to forgo your chemistry notes for Candy Crush.
Sleep at home!
Does it really make sense to drag yourself out of bed, go through your entire morning routine and then throw yourself into class just to fall asleep in the front row? Props to you for having the commitment to attend class despite your lack of physical ability to, but if you are going to dream through everything the professor is saying, you might as well do both of you a favor and get a comfortable rest back home. You may just recover well enough to actually be able to attend your 8 a.m. the next day.
Fill in the gaps!
Why is it when students see a series of empty seats they walk down until they find the one nonadjacent to one already filled? Sure, it may seem like you are imposing yourself on someone else’s personal bubble by sitting next to them (plus you have your own personal bubble to deal with and all), but when a lecture hall is filling up there is little chance someone won’t be forced to sit next to you. Regardless, do you really want to have to deal with people continually walking past you and messing up all your stuff? I thought so. Let it be everyone’s new personal creed and proudly proclaim: “Fill in the gaps!”