Do you go to lecture and find yourself only thinking about when the class will finish? I think every student would say that, at one time or another, he or she has been in this position. So, what’s the big deal? Lectures can be boring, and we should just accept that and find ways to entertain ourselves, right? No! I’m writing this article because the single most annoying aspect of my undergraduate education at UCSB is you. You know who you are. You’re the one who leaves your phone on vibrate instead of silent so you can text during class; you’re the one who pretends to type notes when you’re really playing Solitaire; you’re the one who starts packing up at 10:47 when the class ends at 10:50.
Let me tell you who I am: I’m the one who hears your phone vibrate and can’t help but take my eyes off the PowerPoint to look at you; I’m the one watching your laptop screen and anticipating your next Solitaire move; I’m the one who can barely hear the last three minutes of the lecture because you’re rustling your papers and zipping your backpack. Sometimes, when I get really frustrated, I’m the one who turns around and whispers to you in the most polite way possible, “Excuse me, but I’m trying to learn.” What? Trying to learn? You mean people actually go to lecture to learn? YES. I am one of them. And I’m tired of you.
The problem is that most people like me (who go to lecture to learn) are too shy, too nervous or too nice to actually speak up. I am writing this to give these people a voice. I know they’re out there; maybe you’re one of us. If you are, I thank you. And if you’re not, listen up.
I pay a lot of money to be at a school with professors who are influential in their respective fields of study, and I spend countless hours studying on my own in order to maximize the little amount of time allotted for lecture. When you disturb this time, it makes me mad.
But maybe you don’t care about me. After all, you don’t even know me, so why should you care? Still, I ask you to at least be respectful toward your professors; they deserve it. Teaching is a difficult and noble occupation, and being a great teacher is extremely challenging. Professors have plenty of other tasks in addition to teaching, and the least we can do as students is value the time our professors give us.
So, what am I asking? I’m asking that you either STOP distracting me during class or STOP going to lecture. There, I gave you a choice. You can choose. I’m not saying that I am truly engaged by every lecture I go to. I’m not. But I still sit patiently in my seat, listen and avoid looking at my cell phone for 50 minutes. (Yes, it is possible.) If you can’t do those three things, then please, I beg you, don’t go to class. It’s bad enough that you’re wasting your own time, and even worse that you’re wasting mine.