A guide to standard university etiquette

May 17, 2016
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Going to uni is a bit like going to visit your grandmother’s house on a Sunday afternoon. You don’t really feel like going, but you know it will be good for you once you finally get there (and you should probably walk around on the carpet with a little bit of respect).

Uni has once again started off like a bull at a red gate, and while we’re all trying to keep afloat with the mounting assessments and readings we are swimming in, it’s also an important time to touch base on a few unspoken rules about the standard etiquette for uni.

It’s common knowledge that first year students navigate the buildings like they’re trying to solve a math equation, their eyes as wide as owls. Second years are more likely to be smirking as they clutch their hot soy ¾ latte from the secret café around the corner.

Third years, however, are really the lucky ones, marching towards the end of studies armed with some wonderful buddies by their sides. Now in my third year, I feel I have been through the rounds and have picked up a few tricks of the trade during my time. Here are some of the dos and don’ts for uni (hint: It’s kinda the same things as you would do at your grandmas.)

Plz don’t litter

Sometimes the courtyard at university can look like a beautiful lake, with lots of birds swimming around eating leftover sandwiches and paddling past old popper containers. Except of course, there is no water and the sandwiches are really just rubbish.

While we all have lazy mornings from time to time, there shouldn’t be an excuse when it comes to rubbish and expecting someone else to pick it up. It’s not hard when the bin is a mere two meters away. Much like the wider world, let’s keep this uni of ours beautiful.

Say “thank you” to the bus drivers

You would thank your doctor who gave you the injection and you would thank the nice lady who packed your groceries. So why shouldn’t we thank the slightly chubby and bald bus driver who delivers us to uni safely each and every day? It’s a service they provide and they’re human beings. Where did the (love) manners go!?

Don't be noisy in the library

I am the first person to have a talk. I love talking. I could talk underwater about how much I enjoy it. But there is a time and a place, and in the library where people are cramming for their 60 per cent assessment that is due the next day, perhaps is not the place.  I too need to be respectful of my fellow students, or leave. Plz tap me on the shoulder next time I’m talking (I deserve it).

Flush the toilet

It’s more a comment on our generation if this is something that needs to be discussed in the 21st century. It’s disgusting, but it does happen. We should strive to keep the bathrooms clean and to give the poor toilet cleaners a break. And just bloody flush when you’re done, thanks.

Be quiet in the lectures

Talking in the lectures and tutorials is not only as bad as talking in the library, but worse. Even though at the time it seems vital to discuss what Laura did on the weekend, it can come off as rude.

Just like in high school, we really shouldn’t talk over the lecturer who is putting their time and energy in trying to teach the people who are listening so they don’t fail their biology module. And if you’re bored? Learnt to doodle. I’m an expert at drawing frangipanis.

While rules are made to be broken, sometimes they are there to benefit us, and in this case, for our universities to be a comfortable place of growth and learning. Let’s keep the system rollin’ the way it should and we will all end up benefiting. And I promise to stop talking in the library. 

Avril Treasure

Avril studies Journalism at Notre Dame in Sydney. In her spare time she enjoys playing cards with her grandfather, drinking one too many margaritas and pondering hypothetical questions.

Image: Francisco Osorio, Flickr Creative Commons license