Unwritten Rules of College: Unassigned Assigned Seats

We all know the unwritten rules of college: don’t eat crunchy food in class; always bring your own pencil (because it is likely that no one has an extra) and, most importantly, stick to your unassigned-assigned seat.

“It is important to the success of my day that my unassigned-assigned seat be open when I enter the classroom,” Cloe, an NDSU English education student, stated during a rant on why seating charts are important.

While walking into class the other day, I was faced with a rather sticky situation. As a senior in an upper-level course, one would think that the rest of the students in the class would understand the unassigned-assigned seat rule, but no. Someone was in my seat.

Now, this is a class that is near capacity and only has a few unclaimed seats scattered throughout the room. As I was early for my class, I had to attempt to remember which seats those few unclaimed choices were. This was a difficult task. Normally all I am required to do is walk in, sit down and listen to my instructor blab on for an hour or so.

So, as I stand gawking at the available chairs, willing myself to remember which seats are not normally occupied by my fellow classmates, it strikes me odd that someone would decide to upset the beautiful balance that is obtained with our undocumented seating chart.

Even freshmen, in their big lecture halls with lots of middle seats are aware of this unwritten rule. You don’t upset the equilibrium.

Eventually, as more students enter, I was able to find a seat that I remembered to be unoccupied on a normal day. But the crooked equipoise did not go unnoticed for long.

The discussion was thrown off when the professor went to ask a question and I was not there. Classmates looked at me as if to say, “Why are you committing such a travesty?” By the end of the class, we had scratched all critical discussion of the novel we had intended to break down, instead opting for a long itemization of understood unwritten rules, beginning with unassigned-assigned seats.

Moral of the story being, learn your seat at the beginning of the semester and do not upset the equilibrium by deciding to one day be a little adventurous and sit in someone else’s chair.

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