Surprising Things about College (Part II): In Class

Welcome to part two of my blog series, "Surprising Things about College." This blog series serves to give you a heads up on some of the things that, you guessed it, surprised myself and the other student ambassadors about college. So here is part two: additional things that were unexpected in college classrooms.

5. Disruptive students? Where?
One of the big things about college that differs from high school is that people, in general, choose to attend (and even pay a large amount of money to attend). I didn't realize how much these two concepts of choice and money would affect the classroom setting. But it makes sense, when you have to want to go to college and pay a large sum of hard earned moolah, you kind of want to pay attention. Not to mention by disrupting you are not only wasting your own money but also the money off all the poor students around you. With the lack of disruption there is a lot of quiet between lectures with some scattered questions. But in general there is a sense of either intense focus or complete boredom, either way there is little to no disruption. I found this very comforting when I came to college as I didn't realize how much disruptive students affected me until there weren't any around. I realized that other students pulling the focus from things that I wanted and or needed to learn was the source of a massive amount of stress that I had associated with school work. Ever since I was little I remember being very tense in classes where I was surrounded by other students who didn't seem to care much about school and made it blatantly obvious by all the noise they made and all the snarky comments that they said about and to our teachers.

6. Professors b****ing (bleeping) cuss!
Now this really isn't that big of a deal but it is something that struck me and continues to strike me to this day. Not every one of your professors is going to be dropping f-bombs every third word, I haven't even encountered a professor who does cuss that much. Sure there were a couple cuss words thrown around in English classes when reading some of the classics, but not very often did high school teachers cuss of their own volition, maybe your high school teachers were different than mine or maybe they were the same but all I know is professor cussing on occasion kind of adds something to the whole college experience. Some professors do it on accident and will get embarrassed about letting one slip, so far, for me, the only "professor" who really worried about it was a graduate student who had to substitute for the class, and some will just let them slide because they don't particularly care about censoring themselves because they just want to get some points across. I don't know what it is about this that makes me so comforted, maybe it's because it makes me feel like what the whole of high school couldn't make me feel. Cussing professors make me feel like I'm an adult, almost like an equal (though I know that I am for sure not equal to them). It's a breakdown of the hierarchy and these weird roles that we are put into as student and our superiors as teachers or professors. It humanizes the whole interaction and puts me at ease with a professor. It is surely a bizarre feature of college for me to put so much emphasis on but it stood out to me so I found it noteworthy.

7. Cell phones
This one is surprisingly not that big of a deal. Generally speaking professors are fairly flexible with the whole cellphone thing because you may have parents in the classroom or what have you. Most professors know that there is a lot of important things going on for their students so in general they have a lax policy on cell phone. Some students abuse it and just stay on their phones all throughout the class while others don't. I've had quite a few professors offer the students the chance to help decide the cell phone policy. Typically it ended up being something like keeping cell phones on vibrate and leaving the room before taking a call. Because it wasn't that big of a deal, I was surprised. After the arguments and detentions doled out in high school, it was nice to see that something so trivial no longer has this incredible amount of power over us. I guess the overlapping theme of these surprising things are that we are allowed more freedom than we were in high school.

8. Bathroom
Similar to the whole cell phones and freedom thing, you're allowed to go to the bathroom whenever your little heart desires. It doesn't become extremely laughable that you've had to ask permission and get hallway passes signed off on before being able to go do what nature intends us to do, for 12 years of your life until you no longer have to ask anymore.


Though I will admit there is a bit of awkwardness that I can still attest to when I just get up from my desk or table or what have you, mid-lecture to do what you have to do when you go to the bathroom. While I hear this small voice in my head telling me to ask permission, I ignore it because I need to use the bathroom and that takes precedence over a pleasantry that is no longer necessary in my life. In high school, I remember a lot of people used to try to escape class via bathroom but, when you have to pay for class, people typically don't want to pay to fail a class, and you can leave class any time you want any way/ you don't always have to attend in the first place (see Surprising Things about College (Part 1): In Class)

There are more "Surprising Things..." to come. The next one, I'll get out of the classroom and start writing about some interesting changes that happen within other aspects of college life, or at least my college life. I hope you enjoyed and keep an eye out for more!

Happy Holidays!

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