Classroom Pet Peeves: Student Edition

After several years of studying at Penn State, everyone seems to rack up a list of classroom pet peeves. You know, the little things people do that aren’t really a big deal but for some reason just drive you NUTS. We all have ’em, and we’ve all been guilty of ’em, so we gathered several annoying classroom habits that made the top of our lists:

Coming to class but then talking the entire time anyways: This actually happens in a lot of my classes and I don’t really understand why. I understand not wanting to come to class — we’ve all had those days where something particularly exciting has happened and physics or Don Quixote is the last thing on our minds — but if you really need to gab just skip class instead of disrupting it for everyone else. It’s really awkward having to ask someone to please stop talking when you can’t hear the professor, and ever since one girl snapped in my face and called me a bitch, I’m too afraid to try anymore. Help reduce everyone’s social anxiety, eliminate the uncomfortable glaring, and just stay home.

Asking questions that have already been answered: This is a huge waste of time and a clear indicator that you’re not paying attention. If the professor spends five minutes going over the timeline for an assignment, please don’t ask when things are due when you could look it up on the syllabus or just pay attention in the first place. I’ve even witnessed people who have asked this right after the professor wrote it on the board. You have eyes and ears. Use them.

Packing up before the professor’s done speaking: Who knew rustling paper could be so loud? It may not seem like you’re making much noise when you start packing up two minutes before class is done, but eventually half the class is closing their notebooks and slamming their chair desks down and it sounds like the world is ending. It takes approximately 20 seconds to pack up your stuff, so just wait until class is over. Sit on your hands if you have to.

Coming to class 20 minutes early and then sitting in the first seat in the row when you’re not even left-handed: This is on the top of my own personal list and happens to me on a daily basis. I’m not sure why we can’t fill a row starting from the middle and then out, but those that are first to arrive also seem to want to be the first to leave. People who sit in the first seat are especially a problem in auditorium style rooms where you have to basically crawl on top of their lap in order to get to your seat. I especially love when people do this and then glare at you as you’re struggling to maneuver over them as if you’re inconveniencing them in some horrible manner. Like they’re not the ones who sat in the way. I’ve found that a particularly cathartic way to get back at these people is to make them feel uncomfortable by sliding yourself as close to them as possible on your way to the middle of the row. Oh, I’m sorry, is my ass in your face? They’ve got to learn somehow.

Sending the entire class ANGEL emails with the subject title “EMERGENCY”: Yes, this has actually happened to me before, and no, the email wasn’t what I would exactly call an “emergency.” One night while I was checking my email before bed I almost had a heart attack as a message like this popped up in my inbox. Who was it? Family? A friend? All I knew was that one minute I thought someone was dead, and the next minute I was reading a whiny email from some kid in my 300 person class asking about getting missing notes.

Treating class like a restaurant: There are two sides to this. On one hand, it’s awful having to sit next to the kid that brings in a stinky egg salad sandwich to eat during class. It’s quite another to have to gaze longingly at someone’s Chipotle burrito the entire class period. Either way, it just makes me sad.

The constant coughers: Obviously this pet peeve is unavoidable unless you’re one of those lucky people that never get sick. Although it’s not the cougher’s fault, that doesn’t make the constant hacking any less annoying. During the winter months it sometimes feels like I’m amidst plague victims, where only those with enough hand sanitizer survive. Sympathy is key here, if you’re sick bring your own cough drops, and if someone else is, share.

Saving seats: Saving seats is already a bit elementary, but when you save your friend the seat that I’ve been sitting in all year, I want to pull your hair. Studies suggest that students do better on tests when they sit in the same place that they learned the material, so you’re really doing us both a disservice. Now get out of my seat before I bite you.

The borrower: There’s always that one kid in class who’s never prepared. They never have a pencil, pen, piece of paper, calculator, or anything you would normally bring to class. These people ask for something every day, and never give you your stuff back. Where are your pencils going? It’s a mystery.

Coming to the class when there’s only 10 minutes left: I had one class last semester where this girl was consistently 40 minutes late. Why she even bothered to show up to class was a mystery in and of itself, but the best part was that due to the outside seats being full, she would climb over the last few rows to get to a free seat. One day, she wasn’t as graceful as usual and fell over a misplaced chair. This isn’t just distracting, it’s dangerous.

Did we forget any of your biggest pet peeves? Let us know in the comments, and check back tomorrow for Classroom Pet Peeves: TA Edition.

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About the Author

Catie Simpson

Catie is a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. She's also the resident townie and culinary enthusiast due to a brief stint at the CIA (the culinary school not the secret government agency). She currently works at a Baby Temperament Lab on campus where she tries to get babies to do dangerous things. She's also on the twitter.

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