Jennette Ballas and Aliza Elbert

Dilemma: I was in class the other day and saw students text messaging, reading the paper and clearly not paying attention to the professor’s lecture and wanted to know what proper classroom etiquette is and if those same types of behaviors would be acceptable in a job? ” Kelly O.

Since most college students plan on being in the workplace in a few years, it’s time you start thinking about those classroom behaviors and how they would be accepted in the corporate world. The workplace should be an extension of the habits and skills you develop in your college career.

At the beginning of every quarter when starting a new class, students tend to be on their best behavior, much like the first day at a job. First impressions are clutch (Why do you think most girls strive to look extra cute that first day?). There are some behaviors that are going to be accepted and some that aren’t, but don’t make the mistake of assuming everything is acceptable because it was in a previous job or class. Learn the expectations first before you make a mistake.

Many of your professors introduce syllabuses and expectations for classroom behavior. There are some professors that will answer your cell phone if it rings in class, while others don’t mind if you step outside to take a call. Some don’t mind you browsing the Internet while they lecture (What they don’t know can’t hurt them either), while other professors will take control over every monitor in class to make sure you see what they want you to. Similarly, every job is going to have different rules to follow and it is important to understand and abide by them from day one.

Professor Norm Borin said, “I like to have people treat my class just like they would a paid job. Everyone should show up on time, be prepared to answer questions and challenges, treat their colleagues with courtesy and respect and be willing to work hard to earn rewards.” Over the years, student classroom behavior norms have changed as students have more distractions. Thus, Professor Borin has had to explicitly say that “reading newspapers, listening to iPods, checking cell phones or studying for other classes is clearly inappropriate behavior.”

Although restrictions like these may seem unfair given that we or our parents are paying for the class, the good or bad behaviors learned at college will probably show up in the workplace. Being prepared for each day’s class/workday, treating your instructor/boss and classmates/coworkers with respect, giving that extra effort on a class/work assignment are signs of a strong work ethic and are typically rewarded in school and at work. How many of us have rolled our eyes at classmates’ behaviors and wonder how they will ever succeed in the workplace?

One last thing – dress attire in class. Although this is not your professional work environment, understand that your professors come to Cal Poly to work and don’t need to be in the presence of obscure shirts expressing profanity. So ladies, save the booty shorts for SLO’s nightlife.

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