Class etiquette: when the countdown begins, sit tight till the end

I hate watching people pack up.

No, I’m not talking about the end of my college career. I’m referring to class. You know the scene:

Watch the clock–12:30, 12:40, ten minutes before class ends, and each student’s head is turned every which way but at the front of the classroom.

One minute later, people begin shifting in their seats. Five minutes pass and bags start zipping, papers rustle and pens click shut. The last four minutes of class are spent drumming fingers over neatly stacked notebooks and bags, maybe looking at the professor, but not out of interest.

Inside, everyone is screaming, “wrap it up already!” No sooner does the professor fold her hands and say “okay,” than students jjump out of seats and head for the door.

Am I wrong, or does this seem like behavior that should have ended with season three of Boy Meets World?

This is not just the case with one or two classes.

I’ve seen it happen in almost every class I’ve ever attended at Eastern. In one class last semester, a professor actually raised her voice in protest, “Stop putting your stuff away, I’ve got three minutes left!”

Do we have a reason to be in a hurry? Some of us may, but let’s be honest. Not everyone has to run from McInnis to Heritage or change into a Tai Kwon Do uniform in less than 10 minutes.

And as wise as it may be to get a good spot in the Breezeway line, it’s a sad day when fast food is prioritized over education.

We’ve chosen to come to college, and for some of us, to pay for it. So why are we acting as though it’s been forced upon us?

Last year, a girl in one of my classes always showed up 15 minutes late, and was always the first to pack up. I had to wonder why she was even here.

You wouldn’t pay for a hoagie only to go sprinting out of Wawa while the clerk was still bagging it. And we don’t see professors sneaking out the door while students still have their hands raised.

Even if the class is a painful required course, we still owe our instructors a certain amount of respect. The same goes for our classmates.

Once I had finally decided to be respectful of my professors’ time last year, I found myself needing to focus extra hard just to gather what the professor was saying, thanks to the noise the other hurriers were making.

The problem is not just in the classroom, however. Last Sunday, I was disturbed to find the case to be true in church when the woman next to me began folding her bulletin and zipping up her Bible before the pastor had reached the benediction.

Of course, I did not know this woman’s story or schedule. No doubt there are more excuses which I haven’t listed (some more legitimate than others). Hurry always has a reason ready.

But all excuses aside, if we’ve made a commitment to something like class or a church community, there shouldn’t be an excuse for commitment being less than 100 percent every time.

So this year, when class seems to be dragging, try to remember why you’re here. And if not for your own benefit, then simply out of common courtesy, give what you’ve committed. Take it from a recent graduate: the rewards will be worth it.

I promise.

Shannon Whiting graduated last semester with a degree in English writing.

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