By Angel Harper
In just 10 weeks, I will be graduating and saying goodbye to the University of Nevada, Reno. My time here has equipped me with an education, a die-hard family of friends and extraordinary personal growth. But, these past five years at our beloved university have also provided me with a finely-tuned list of white-hot-anger-inducing campus and classroom pet peeves. I’m leaving, but maybe this top five list will reach some of you unintentional jerks and cause you to take second look at your absolutely infuriating actions. As someone who has always been all for leaving something better than the way I found it, here’s to a better UNR.
5. PREFACING ANSWERS
Say what you’re going to say. No one needs to know your thought process or how much you’re not sure it’ll make sense. If there’s a 30-second intro to your answer, I’m already not listening. We’re all here to learn, and we’re all fumbling a little; don’t sidestep yourself or dance around an answer because you’re not positive it’s correct. Go for it. Trust fall your way through class. I swear we’ll catch you, because we want to be caught too. Just get to the goddamn point.
4. NOT BEING CONSIDERATE OF FELLOW STUDENTS
Last semester, I was parked on a bench outside Frandsen, anxiously trying to finish a reading for my next class. It was a quiet spot. Everyone was pretty much in class and the three other benches near me were empty. I was golden, until two students decided to sit near me, on the side of the bench closest to my frantic reading binge.
One student hadn’t read “Antigone.” The other had. How did I know this? Because I could hear their retelling of the play loud and clear, even over my headphones. I was there first and there was no way I was going to move (I’m insanely stubborn), so all I could do was shoot eye daggers until they got the hint. They didn’t. I did not finish my reading, but if my professor had any questions about “Antigone,” I’d be set.
I’m not asking for quiet hours 24/7 — just don’t purposely sit and chat near someone who clearly looks busy. There’s a million and one other benches. Go rehash your bullshit freshman reading elsewhere, far, far away from me.
3. ASKING A QUESTION THAT CAN EASILY BE ANSWERED ON YOUR OWN
The professor has just handed out an essay assignment. They don’t have to read it through with you, but they do, just to make sure everyone is on the same page. After trudging through it all, they ask if there are any questions. Immediately, someone raises their hand and asks how long the paper has to be. Your eyes zoom in dramatically to the top of the prompt where it says, in plain English, “4 to 5 pages” and the “Kill Bill” siren goes off in your head as you fume silently in your chair.
Maybe it’s not that dramatic for you, but that’s exactly how it goes in my head. If you have a question that can be answered by looking at the syllabus or even the freshly-printed paper right in front of you, do not, for the sake of your peers’ sanity, raise your freaking hand. It wastes class time, makes you look lazy and incompetent and inspires an average of 30 eye-rolls per instance.
2. EATING PANDA EXPRESS IN CLASS
Food in the classroom doesn’t bother me too much –– I understand that we all have to eat. What I’m talking about here is strong-smelling food in particular, for example, our great and most odorous on-campus eatery, Panda Express.
The scent wafting from your Panda Bowl is downright disgusting. Chinese food does not smell good unless you’re the one eating it. I love the way orange chicken smells when I’m about to devour it, but not so much when it’s permeating every inch of a cramped, badly ventilated classroom. I don’t want to gag my way through a lecture because you couldn’t time your day right and eat in the Joe. Chew some gum to hold you over if you’re that hungry. The Panda can wait.
1. TALKING WHEN THE PROFESSOR IS TEACHING
This has been my no.1 school-related pet peeve for years, but its annoyance factor has been heightened here at UNR, a place where I am spending money to learn.
I do not want to hear whispers about your weekend or how cool the new whatever-the-hell is when I am trying to digest 400-level subject matter that costs hundreds to hear from an educated instructor. Your inattention to the amount of distraction you are causing is inexcusable, and I swear I’ll let you know.
I know your mother didn’t raise you to be rude. Act like it, and, at the same time, get your money’s worth. Win win.
Angel Harper studies English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.