By Carmel Hooshmand
Are you a new student? A “Fresher” newly emerging from the protective womb of high school? Or maybe you’re an older student, who realized the real world is terrifying and you’ve come back to the blissful denial of adulthood which is the label “student”. No matter which side of the spectrum you’re from, university is an ever evolving multi-headed dog that mutates every time you think you’ve figured it out. So where to begin when it comes to the basic university etiquette?
The Great Eight University Etiquettes: The G8!
1. Personal Hygiene
Yes, this is being addressed as “etiquette”. Welcome to university. Nobody more than a 5th year can appreciate that time gets scarce and that you will sometimes need to spend 48 hours in the library putting your blood sweat and tears into an essay. I’ve been there, I too have shed those tears, but I did the considerate thing and went home and had a shower as soon as I could, and didn’t show up to class smelling like the filthy sock that set Dobby free. You might have forgotten what you smell like, that’s not your fault (it’s your assignment’s fault) but if you’ve used the same set of clothes for more than 7 hours, please shower and change.
2. Talking in lectures
This one is tricky, and controversial. If you talk a little you get your face recognised by the professor, but if you talk too much you get recognised on Murdoch confessions and will hear a collective sigh of a hundred annoyed people every time you talk. Now there is a lot of finger pointing that mature age students are the worst culprits of talking too much in lectures, but I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s just as bad with over-excited and uninformed first years. I believe that everyone has the right to speak in classes and lectures. If you are worried your contributions might not fit the etiquette of university here is a simple rule to follow. If your comment can be directly useful in an exam to the majority of students, then make the comment, otherwise hold off until you can speak to the lecturer in person. Comments like “Can you please clarify the last point” is great, comments like “this reminds me of when I….” will automatically waste everyone’s time. Keep your questions or comments academic and not anecdotal.
3. Talking to Professors
After every lecture there is always 20 students waiting to see the professor. Some have very quick questions that can be addressed in seconds, and others have long questions that require 10 minutes to explain. Be systematic. If you KNOW your question is a hard one, let others go first, or else put it in an email. Please, don’t rush to the front, be the first to talk to the professor for 15 minutes about your life story.
“I need to clarify a point on topic X for my assignment” – Line up.
“I need a detailed response for topic X for my assignment”- Email the professor.
“I think the professor will find this interesting”- Stay seated.
“Trust me. You don’t ever want to be the person over-heard loudly talking about that cat video you spent all night watching or the new tinder fling you have good banter with.”
4. Library Noise restrictions
Trust me. You don’t ever want to be the person over-heard loudly talking about that cat video you spent all night watching or the new tinder fling you have good banter with. Yes, there are floors of the library which are silent zones, and others that are not (IE Level 3 North Wing). But if you’re on level 3, in a booth, and everybody is dead silent, then read the room and also keep silent. Just because you’re allowed to talk loudly in the area it doesn’t mean you should. You’re also allowed to do 10kms under the limit on South Street, but why make yourself so unpopular? Show respect to the people you are sharing the space with (including the roads, it’s a 70km zone damn people come on).
5. Murdoch Confessions
This page is both a pro and con of university life. The bonuses include creating a sense of community. People who seek support or answers to a complaint are better received and answered on Confessions than through any other forum. We also start recognising familiar names (shout out to you Frodo Swaggins) which helps us learn who some of the more active members of the university community are. The downside is that often, things get nasty. Whether it’s a club president, a Guild president, or the one mature age student who annoys you, it’s not okay to publicly bash somebody because you don’t like them. Sure it’s funny when Bell Tower Times does it, but the second you put a face to the story, you’re bullying. Murdoch is a small place, if you take out the village and the horse’s we’re probably smaller than the Greek economy. Don’t characterise our university with online bullying. Keep in mind most academic staff have Facebook and regularly scan the page, and in the past they have commented on post’s too. Keep it clean, Keep it Memes.
6. Booth Bi-laws
Scenario. You go to a restaurant, eat your meal, and leave your things at the table, and ask the waiter to keep the table there, because you want to pop out for 2 hours for desert somewhere else. The waiter is obviously confused as to why you would do this because it’s selfish to keep a table to yourself when people would be waiting and the table’s available are limited. If you want to go out for 2 hours then you should take your things with you and resign to the fact that you don’t own a table just because your thing’s are there especially when power points are so limited.
You understand? It’s a metaphor. The library is the restaurant, the table is the booth, the angry waiter is every student you will piss off by leaving your things at a table for hours while you buzz around campus.
7. Group Assignments
Group work can be a new experience for everyone, and if it’s your first time doing a group project it’s no wonder challenges arise. Firstly, attend all group meetings and respond to emails, don’t leave your group hanging. Secondly, if you look at the group project and everybody else’s work looks better than yours, then re-do your work. You are the weakest link. There are students who rely on the good performance of others in group work to achieve good marks. If your work is poor quality your group can kick you off the team, and you will end up submitting the assignment alone and doing twice the work.
8. Just be Cool, yeah?
Don’t judge how people dress, if they come to class in heels or Crocs, whether they dress like Beyoncé or Dobby. Don’t be rude to people who have different opinions to you, don’t make discussions into arguments. Don’t complain and put Murdoch down constantly, suggest solutions. We have a culture unique to our campus, we make friends by sitting with strangers in the library. We feel comfortable wearing whatever we like and we are confident talking in classes without fear of missile launches. If you’re a new student, then contribute positively to this culture. Be nice, be friendly, shower regularly.
By Carmel Hooshmand