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Carmen Mallia, Gazette Culture editor.

Unnecessary noises. Food with an overbearingly strong smell. Whispering in class. Raising your hand to ask condescending questions.

These are just a few things I’ve noticed students do on a regular basis during lectures — and they truly grind my gears. 

I already dread spending three hours listening to a professor dissect a topic that I’m disinterested in. But one of the worst parts about being in class is undoubtedly my classmates.

In my four years at Western, I’ve witnessed just about every nonsensical thing a student can do to piss off everyone else in class — including the professor. 

For example, last week in one of my film classes, a self-entitled student raised their hand every few minutes in the lecture, even when the professor didn’t pose a question to the class. 

Now, I understand that participation contributes to a significant grading portion for some classes, but it’s not necessary to discuss your love for the technological advancements in James Cameron’s Avatar — completely out of context  in a class that focuses on Disney films. 

We’ll call this student The Talker. 

The Talker is constantly shooting their hand up in every lecture, like a real-life Hermione Granger. But unlike Hermione, they never have anything to say — at least, not anything meaningful.

Not only does The Talker's constant comments make themself seem like a classroom-elitist — one who uses big words to posh up their non-essential argument — but it also removes the opportunity for other students to take part in constructive dialogue. 

Now, this may just be me ranting about things that tick me off, but I feel like these are shared opinions among most students. You don't have to search far to come across a packed lecture hall with students who lack etiquette.

Noise distractions, a common occurrence, can be a serious deterrent from students' ability to concentrate during lecture. That’s why unnecessary whispering throughout an entire class makes a vein pop out of my forehead. 

A lecture is an unacceptable time to talk about your belligerent weekend at the Ceeps, but I understand why most professors don’t intervene: they are teaching courses on topics that they specialize in, not on manners.

Sometimes I feel the urge to turn around and tell my peers to shut their traps, but I also understand that there is no larger form of disrespect within an academic setting, and I bite my tongue.

People should be more conscious of their impact in the classroom. Crunching rambunctiously on food, making unnecessary noises, asking a question that the teacher just answered and slamming on a keyboard are all things that shouldn't occur during time in the classroom, solely based on the fact that these tendencies are disrespectful.

The classroom is a learning environment and it should be treated like one. Each student pours thousands of dollars in tuition fees on an annual basis, and they expect to be in a setting where they can thrive. They don't want to constantly be thinking about how to politely tell you to keep it down or to focus on The Talker and their unnecessary antics.

Don't dominate your peers' opportunities to learn by hogging up class time with too many questions; come to class prepared and respect those who sit beside you. 

Okay, maybe I’m just going on a rumbling tangent now. Sure, I’ve always been irritated by the little things. 

I’ve been sound-sensitive and intolerant to my “entitled” classmates since a young age. “You’re too sensitive” has been a common phrase that I’ve been told, but that’s fine — it’s the truth. It’s something that I’ve tried to shut out on multiple occasions, but I always seem to find someone or something that irritates me in class.

After 18 years in the school system, I will no longer have to deal with these problems once I enter the real world — unless the hand-raisers and whisperers thrive in the workforce. 

In that case, I better get used to it.


Most of Carmen's time is spent in the Western Gazette newsroom, where he reports on student issues, London trends, and local events. He is currently in his fourth-year of Honours Specialization in Media, Information and Technoculture.

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