I’m a firm believer in nonverbal communication. A relaxed head-nod or a strategically raised eyebrow can speak volumes about you to an observer.
When we walk on campus or downtown, we unconsciously send messages about ourselves to everyone we pass. Some of these messages are personality-driven and some are alcohol-infused. Either way, it’s fun to make assumptions.
First, no matter how you walk, there is a certain etiquette that comes with cruising the sidewalk. I tend to think of it in terms of driving. You walk to your right and pass people on the left. Fairly simple stuff. When you are in a hurry, make sure you acknowledge the fact that you are the inconvenience. Everyone does not adhere to your schedule.
If you have to get physical, I would suggest saving it for those people who are walking while clicking around their iPhone, reading the Collegian (they don’t have to be walking for this one), or just holding up the natural flow. Also, show some respect for those gigantic metal machines on four wheels. Pedestrians are getting progressively more ballsy. Just watch yourself when you decide to cross the street.
Here are some walking styles you may encounter in the near future:
These people like to have a good time. They combine their walking with some impromptu break-dance moves. With music blaring from their headphones and the occasional lyric from a Top 40 artist escaping their lips, the Dance-Walker is not very conscious of their surroundings. Be careful around them and for them. They are that into their music.
The I-Think-I’m-More-Important-Than-I-Really-Am Stride
This stride is native to former jocks and jock-ettes. Somewhere along the way (high school), these people convinced themselves that they were not only important, but had some sort of swag. They believe that they are entitled to the majority of the sidewalk. Most of the time, these people are accompanied by a smaller minion whose only purpose is to laugh at their jokes that aren’t funny and take up more sidewalk space.
Quite the opposite of the ITIMITIRAS (see above). The Down-Looker has shit to do. They have zero time for eye contact. Maybe they lack self-confidence. Maybe they are constantly in deep thought. Maybe they just like a good sidewalk. They aren’t necessarily nerds, but they are pretty smart. They’re also pretty vulnerable to sneak attacks.
The Drunk Stumble/The Hangover Shuffle
One leads to the other. One is experienced downtown at all hours of the night, while the other is a staple for those early morning classes. Most of us prefer the stumble, but we underestimate the importance of the shuffle. That slow dragging of the feet plays an important role in not getting sick on campus.
The Late Sprint
Okay. We get it. You’re a serious student. You got up late. You have one of those professors. You got lost in the world of Netflix. Whatever the case may be, just go for it. I have a feeling we have all been there. So go ahead and weave in and out of those Hangover- Shufflers and Dance-Walkers.
What style do you prefer? What other styles have you seen on campus?
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About the Author
Penn State ranked just outside the top 100 in this year’s Forbes’ list of the top colleges in the United States.
Students, faculty, and staff should update their Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Linux devices before they return to campus.
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