The rules of campus courtesy

Jen Steer

Credit: Steve Schirra

A friend of mine once told me that life is a series of awkward situations, separated by sleep. This has become my personal mantra over the years, and I often laugh and think about it to myself in public. There is one particular awkward situation that I encounter on a daily basis. In fact, it happens every time I go to class.

I’m a fast walker. I’ve always believed that I need to act as if I know where and what I’m doing, even when I’m completely clueless. Besides making me look like a freak who sprints across campus, it always makes me look like a jerk who would run any slow-moving person right off the sidewalk.

The rules of the sidewalk are much like the rules of the road. Many people who know me know I’m not an expert on the road, considering I’ve only had my driver’s license for about six months. My point is, if you are a slow walker, get to the side of the sidewalk and get out of my way. Walk in the slow lane.

Fellow people of the sidewalk, you must hear me coming. I walk really heavy, I’m usually short of breath and, sometimes, I talk to myself about how slow people walk. I can’t figure out what’s more awkward: my need for speed as my shoes hit the concrete or my inability to keep my mouth shut as I walk around campus by myself.

Another thing I have an issue with is how long to hold the door open for people coming up behind me. I can’t count the number of times I’ve stood like an idiot, holding open the door to Bowman for ridiculous amounts of time. I don’t want the door to hit anyone in the face, which I have done before.

I’ve also accidentally hit one of the visually impaired students while pushing a door open in his direction. Now, if that doesn’t make you feel like a jerk, I don’t know what does. Don’t judge me, it could have happened to anyone, and I now make a conscious effort not to knock people out when I fling open doors with no windows in them.

Now, I have a five-second rule. It’s not quite like the rule that allows me to eat an M&M I dropped on the floor. This five-second rule requires me to hold a door open for – you guessed it – five seconds. If you happen to get there at six seconds – too bad. I tried.

So the next time someone holds a door open for you, remember the moral dilemma that went through his or her head prior to propping the door open. And maybe, just think about saying thank you. It’s just nice, every once in a while, to come across some civility on campus.

Jen Steer is a junior broadcast news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].