Lately, I find myself frequently disappointed with the conduct of fellow students around the university. I am growing weary of the lack of what we here at the U of M call “manners.” Manners (as defined by Dictionary.com) are a way of behaving with reference to polite standards. Have we really forgotten the manners that our parents spent so much time teaching us? Or have we just forgotten when to apply them?
I remember a time when it was considered common to treat others as we wished to be treated— a time when we still treated others accordingly. However, I have noticed a few things lately about our wonderful university that deserve commenting upon.
First, the door slam. This happens mostly around doors that are frequently used. It seems that the person entering or exiting the door finds it to be too much hassle to hold the door open for at least the person directly behind or in front of them. I don’t recall a time growing up when I was taught to try my best to slip through doors in such a way that it would then close just in time to interrupt the next person’s stride. Rather, I was taught the exact opposite. It takes but a fraction of a second holding out your arm behind you to momentarily “prop” the door open for the next person. A fraction of a second! That’s just about the amount of time you use to walk away from the door while still in arm’s reach. This however does not happen at all doors. In fact, it seems to be that the less people in the area, the more polite we are.
Second, the shove. This pushing motion happens just about everywhere in the university. It seems that we find it okay to break the bubble that is our personal space only on the occasion that it will put us ahead of another individual. Thinking back to childhood, I do believe we learned a few very important phrases, no matter what our native language might have been. In this case I am talking about the phrase “excuse me.” It’s a simple three syllable phrase, which is something I know we can all handle here at the university level. Instead of pushing past another person or through a group of people, why not speak up and just say “excuse me.”
All this being said, I know there are exceptions to every situation, and I am not pointing fingers, I am merely wagging them generally. Just because university life is terribly stressful at the best of times does not excuse the loss of our manners. If you take anything from this whole spiel, please take with you the idea that having manners while at university will provide a more comfortable environment for all students. We all share a common ground in this very crowded place, thinking of exams, due dates, work, getting to our classes on time, and having manners may not be on the top of our to do list. But if everyone were to make a conscious effort to remember their manners, the university would be a much calmer place. This would not only give the university a “homey” feel to it, but it would help mitigate much of the social stresses we all feel.
Tanis Klippenstein is a U1 student, majoring in swing dancing.
Editor’s note: Please flush urinals in the men’s washroom after using them.