One thing that’s super different between university and high school is the classroom size.

Lectures for first year Engineering are huge, usually held in the largest (around 600 seats) lecture theatre available. Sometimes even that’s not enough and there are overflow rooms with a screen projecting whatever’s happening in the main room. Lectures are recorded, however often the recording doesn’t go through or has terrible audio quality or it’s out of sync. Attendance is never compulsory, and nobody will miss you if you don’t attend.

But as they say, paying for university and not going to class is like paying for a hotel room and sleeping out in the streets.

Tutorials and labs are much smaller with around 20-30 people, and are run by teaching assistants who are studying in their respective fields at a PhD level. These are fairly important and attendance is usually compulsary-ish in the form of bribery it contributing to your final grade. Tutorials are discussion-based and labs are quite practical and hands-on.

You’d think with everyone being, y’know, adults, that everyone would know how to behave such that it would cause the least discomfort to the people around them. And it’s not like I’m some goody two-shoes or anything (I can be a bit rude sometimes), I just really like not being bothered and not bothering other people. So, here are some useful tips on how to behave at university (or anywhere, really):

1) Shhhhhhh
Do you think the lecturer likes shushing everybody like they’re in high school? Do you think anyone enjoys having to listen to you yarning on to your friend when other people in the vicinity are trying to focus?!?

2) If you’re gonna bring your laptop…
Remember that everyone behind you can see what you’re doing. And depending on what you’re doing, it can really be quite distracting. You can avoid this by sitting at the back of the room.

3) I like food
And so do you, I’m sure. There’s a fairly conspicuous sign outside that says no food or drink allowed in the lecture room. Is this enforced? Not really. You’re expected to have some common sense and not make a mess or bring in any strongly smelling food as this is the nice thing to do. Don’t even get me started on chewing gum, but I have no idea who the disgusting heathens are who stick gum under the tables and chairs. Please don’t do that.

4) Don’t block the way!!!
Very often there are very few seats available once everyone is seated. Don’t leave empty seats in rows.
If you decide to sit in the middle it’s pretty impossible to get out until after everyone else has.
If you decide to sit at the ends of a row, people would appreciate it if you remove yourself ASAP after the class as they can’t get out until you do. Please have some spatial awareness.

Perhaps not etiquette, but it could be useful. The best seats are, of course, front-ish middle (not too front otherwise you’ll strain your neck trying to look at the screen or get picked on to volunteer for stuff or get asked questions).

On a final note. You can wear what you like. Sit how you like. But whatever you do.
Don’t kick my chair.