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How (not) to be a student

Ensure you won’t end up a teacher’s pet peeve by following these simple instructions from some of Halifax’s finest instructors.

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Every year, professors encounter students who bend the rules, ignore classroom etiquette and straight-up just don't give a shit. On top of looking like a moron, not treating university like a serious endeavour can have a negative impact on the overall academic experience, the learning of your peers and the opinions of your instructors (from whom you'll later be begging for reference letters). Bottom line: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

To help you know what NOT to do, we polled instructors from Dalhousie University, King's College, NSCAD and MSVU on frequent student behaviours that you should avoid. The less you irritate instructors and fellow classmates (the more respect you show them), the better you'll do, we promise.

Don't address emails to professors with things like 'Yo' or 'Hey.' Use the professor's name and also spell it correctly!" Always sign your own name—don't make professors guess who is emailing them.

Don't whisper amongst yourselves in class, even in big lecture halls. You may think you can't be heard, but you definitely can. It is rude and distracting to the professor and to all the other students in the class.

Don't ask for special treatment. Don't book flights that conflict with your classes and don't ask for an extension because you're going to Miami on Study Break. "It's called Study Break; it's for studying."

Don't ask questions that are not only answered on the syllabus but on the very first page!" Read it twice.

Be honest with yourself (and your parents). If you're feeling out of sorts at university or college, that's OK! But be sure to talk to someone about other options and career paths that make sense for you.

Don't flake out at the finish line (i.e.fail to hand in a final assignment after participating in the class all semester). "You miss the best part: the finish line where everyone claps and takes Gatorade baths."

Don't use Schmoop, Cliffnotes, Wikipedia or any study aids to 'analyze' passages from literature. Those sites should change their slogans from 'we speak student' to 'we breed plagiarists.' Don't plagiarize.

Don't say 'I came to your office but you weren't there.' This almost NEVER happens.

Do not text in class, ever. Just turn off your phone for 90 minutes. Please, don't text in class!

Don't ask professors to summarize the contents of a missed class during their office hours. Never say, 'Did I miss anything important?'" The most effective way to keep up in classes is to attend all of them.

Don't treat female professors like they're 'girls' and don't try to appeal to a professor's 'feminine side.' Don't try to flirt with her or treat her like your mother or cool aunt.Take responsibility for your actions.

Don't protest grades with: 'But I did really well in high school!' That may be true, but this is university.

Don't use your mother or father as an excuse for any reason, real or fake (it's even worse if it's true).

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