I promise I don't bite.


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Each Tuesday and Thursday I come from a class in the white building. By the time I get to class I am sweaty and I have yet to face my biggest obstacle, finding a seat.lecture-hall.jpeg 

I have noticed an interesting trend in all of my lecture style classes. By the time I get to class, most of the outside seats are taken then every other seat from that one is taken. Let's face it, no one likes to be the barrer of bad news but a girls gotta find a seat. So the process of letting someone past in the row begins in the following steps:
  1. Take all things off your baby desk and place them on your lap. 
  2. Fold baby desk half way in and awkwardly hold it with your right hand.
  3. Reach to open backpack and try to keep it closed as you use as little effort as possible to pull it towards your feet. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-4 until all the seats in your row are filled. 
During this tedious process, your pencil and cell phone most likely will be misplaced. All this work to have a butt in your face and someone backpack grazing your head. 

Why do we subject ourselves to this torture every lecture class we have? When I was a freshman I thought that it was just a phase but as I have been here I see it only gets worse with upperclassmen. 

In this class especially, now lets be realistic here, we all know that this classroom will fill up. It has every Tuesday and Thursday. We should all just cut to the chase and sit next to each other. In a perfect world the rows would fill from the middle to the outside that way no butts in faces, and no lost pencils. 

This idea came to me after last weeks class when I subjected too many people to my backside trying to maneuver into a seat. So today I tried to practice what I was going to preach. I went to the middle of the row and sat next to a boy when there were several seats on either side of us. I admit that it was a little bit uncomfortable but the good news was he did not bite. 

While trying to find an explanation for the reason we all refuse to sit next to each other, I found an article that talks about the most effective way to get people to not sit with you on a bus or plane. Esther Kim of Yale University spent three years observing tactics used to avoid sharing a seat. "Some of the tips for avoiding your fellow travelers are dictated by physical postures, such as avoiding eye contact, staring out the window with a blank stare or simply pretending to be asleep. While others are more overtly antisocial, like placing your bag on the empty seat next to you, listening to your iPod, or even lying and saying the seat next to has already been taken."

Kim is again quoted on Science Daily's website saying, "Kim found that the greatest unspoken rule of bus travel is that if other seats are available you shouldn't sit next to someone else. As the passengers claimed, "It makes you look weird."" I think this unspoken rule goes for the classroom as well. A twist was discovered though when the bus she was observing was given the information that it would be full, then the passengers changed their tactic to sitting someone who seemed 'normal'. I would be lying if I said I never used this technique.
The concept of "social isolation in a public space" is one that may come into play in the classroom setting. 

While thinking about social isolation it brought me back to my high school science days and I thought of the process of diffusion. This is the process of air molecules spreading out an even distance from each other. The size of the room and the molecule count changes the volume and  distance each molecule is from the others. 

This brings me to an analogy. The air molecules in a room are students in science 200 to the classroom. The diffusion in the classroom now is a social/psychological diffusion in which each student tries to be as far apart from other students they do not know. When the class is sure to fill up, like it is in science 200, we then resort to finding someone to sit next to who seems normal. 

Maybe after reading this, you will be more inspired to break that social diffusion. For those of you who get into class first, try sitting in the middle, see if the lack of backpack face slaps is worth the slight uncomfortable feeling while impeding on someone's social isolation goals. 

4 Comments

Haha nice article. I find it a hardship trying to find a seat or allowing someone to pass by me as they are trying to get to a seat. I wish everyone would just fill up the rows without skipping seats. For instance, someone takes the seat at the end, then the next person takes the seat next to that person. That way there is one entrance and people trying to sit in that row won't have to spider man over people just to get to a seat. Rough times for a college student haha.

Haha nice article. I find it a hardship trying to find a seat or allowing someone to pass by me as they are trying to get to a seat. I wish everyone would just fill up the rows without skipping seats. For instance, someone takes the seat at the end, then the next person takes the seat next to that person. That way there is one entrance and people trying to sit in that row won't have to spider man over people just to get to a seat. Rough times for a college student haha.

Haha nice article. I find it a hardship trying to find a seat or allowing someone to pass by me as they are trying to get to a seat. I wish everyone would just fill up the rows without skipping seats. For instance, someone takes the seat at the end, then the next person takes the seat next to that person. That way there is one entrance and people trying to sit in that row won't have to spider man over people just to get to a seat. Rough times for a college student haha.

Great article. This problem happens a lot and is a real pain!! It stinks having to try to squeeze through all of the people who do not want to move an inch because they finally got comfortable in their chair. What is probably worst of all though is that they would hope that you would move if they were the ones that were trying to find that one open seat in the middle row. Haha it is definitely rough times for college students.

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