02.13.11 By Kailey

Classroom Etiquette

Hello Friends!

I hope this post finds you doing well. I had a totally INSANE week! The beginning of the week was packed with meetings. The Animal Law Society kick-off meeting went well, we had delicious vegetarian lunch offerings from Snarf’s for everyone and discussed a great many exciting issues. We also heard back about job interviews this week, AND I attended an Open House at a big downtown law firm. PHEW.

Not only was I busy with meetings and lots of reading, but I slipped and fell on the ice in front of my apartment Thursday morning and SHATTERED my laptop screen and injured my back! I survived, luckily, but it was a traumatizing and expensive ¬†mishap (all because of some silly frozen water…ugh!). Then, Friday I went on a field trip to the Federal Courthouse downtown. We met with a judge who told us all about his career and answered our questions. It was quite a delightful way to end a ridiculous week.

Anyhow, now that I’ve complained about my struggles, I thought I’d address a topic that also came up this week: classroom etiquette. If you go to a big school for undergrad, you may be used to giant lecture halls where you can essentially come and go as you please without disturbing your classmates. At WashU, even though a few classes have 100+ students, the lecture halls are shaped in such a way that this usually won’t fly. Nor will facebooking throughout class or whispering comments to fellow classmates. Most of us are paying a lot to go to law school, so even if you don’t get called out by the Professor, you might receive some scowls from your fellow classmates. Here are some pointers to get you through:

1. Be on time: Don’t walk into class late. Sure, it happens to all of us and I’m not saying I haven’t been tardy once or twice…but you’re paying for every precious minute so take classtime seriously. Additionally, your professors will be world-class legal scholars who you will look up to, and insulting them by strolling in with a coffee and a grin is never good.

2. Dress Appropriately: Pajamas are not law school appropriate. They just aren’t. Some people rock sweatpants, but I’m not a fan of that either. And don’t get me started on leggings as pants. There are constantly lawyers and other professionals visiting the school, and having your act together (or at least appearing to) never hurts. And back to #1, you don’t want your professor to remember you for snoopy slippers or a college drinking t-shirt, you want them to remember your brilliant legal analysis!

3. Don’t Goof Off: I’m not allowed to use my laptop in most of my classes for this very reason. If you are allowed, don’t be on Facebook or shopping online. This is disrespectful to your classmates and can be really distracting. If you’re Gilting it up at noontime and get called on, and have no idea what is going on, you are wasting your classmates’ time and money. This isn’t fair to you or them, so take the little time you actually spend in class seriously.

4. Don’t Chit Chat: whispering and giggling in class is really a pet peeve of mine. I prefer a “knowing glance” at my homegirl Lily who always knows what I’m referring to. Talking just isn’t appropriate, and you’re never as quiet as you think you are! We can hear you!

5. Do Your Reading: Do it! You will get cold called. You will stumble. BUT if you’ve done your reading, you will make it through. If you don’t, you risk embarrassing yourself and wasting your and your classmates’ time. Professors will make you dredge through a case to make an example of you. It will be terrible. If this happens, please be respectful throughout the process. Sometimes people sass a professor, and then things get awkward. Don’t make it awkward. Don’t make your classmates cringe and want to apologize for you. Just be polite, take one for the team, and next time get it together. It’s also OK to admit you don’t know (and beg for mercy). Kidding. It’s not so bad. But seriously, just read.

These are just some thoughts and suggestions based on some recurring experiences I’ve had since August. Use common sense and you should be just fine. This week it’s back to a routine with hopefully more jobs and less falling. Wish me luck!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

- Kailey

1 comment to Classroom Etiquette

  • I agree with all of these. People who mess around on their laptops in class make me crazy. Why did you bother showing up if you are just going to fb chat the whole time!? It’s so infuriating that I find it hard to concentrate on the class.

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