by Mr. Etiquette

Today, a college degree alone will not get you a job or help you keep it.

Studies conducted by Harvard University, Stanford Research Institute, and The Carnegie Foundation has found that 85% of an individual’s success is directly related to social – not technical -skills.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education”.

So, let’s go over some character-building do’s and don’ts…

Respect Your Instructor. It is never smart or appropriate to rudely challenge your professor, especially in front of the class. The professor is a person with feelings who controls your grade. It’s equivalent to being rude to the waitress or cook at a restaurant and then place a food order. Not smart! If you have an issue with something your professor has said or done, speak with them calmly and privately.

Address Your Professor Properly. Unless your professor insists (and even then, I’d still caution), always address them by their proper title whether in person or through e-mail. For example, if your professors last name is Brown and they hold a PhD, you should refer to them as Dr. Brown. If they do not have a PhD, you should call them Professor Brown.

Be Aware of Becoming Too Comfortable with Your Professor. They are your instructors, not your friends and sometimes students can have this false sense of closeness. You should always be mindful of your tone and language when addressing them. Speaking of language…

Do Not Use Offensive Language When Sending Emails. This goes back to being too comfortable with your professor. You are not equal to your instructor; hence you shouldn’t use vulgar language in your e-mails. Also, always check your grammar and punctuation. Your computer has a spell checker, you’d be wise to use it.

Always Include A Subject and Always Identify Yourself in Your E-mail. By doing so, there’s no misunderstanding of who it is from and what it is about. Many professors teach at other colleges so your e-mails should always be clear and include your name, the class you are writing about and your reason for writing.

Do Not Signal to Your Instructor That Time Is Up. Shutting books loudly, as well as unzipping and zipping your bookbags before the professor dismisses class is rude. And please, do not get up and walk out before class is dismissed. It is one of the most disrespectful behaviors a student can demonstrate. Yes, sometimes professors go over the time allotted for class, however, if this repeatedly happens you should speak to your professor -like an adult- about it privately.

Stay Off Your Cell Phones. There’s a meme that went viral on the internet and reads, “Dear Students, I know when you’re texting in class. Seriously, no one looks down at their crotch and smiles.” Take this to heart. Just because the professor may not say anything to you in the moment, doesn’t mean they won’t say it through your grade.

Do Not Eat in Class. It’s more than proper etiquette, it’s a rule here at St. Francis. Furthermore, smells can be distracting and the sound of you crunching, chewing and swallowing is repulsive.

Gentlemen Pick Up Your Pants! This is college, an academic setting for adults who are preparing for their careers. Unless your career involves standing on the corner for the rest of your lives then walking around with your boxers, briefs, or whatever you are wearing these days is distasteful and quite frankly in this setting makes you look like an idiot! Why would anyone, especially faculty, take you serious as a person when you don’t take yourselves seriously?

Please Take Your Du-Rags, Scarves, Hats and Hoodies Off When You’re in Class. You don’t look cool, on-fleek or whatever the latest lingo is. You do, however, look like you have no home training. This is not a fashion show this is college, and you are here to prepare yourself for the work force. There are very few professional jobs which allow their male employees to wear a hat or anything on their heads unless it’s for religious purposes. My advice for you is to practice getting into the habit now.

We have all been told “you should never judge a book by its cover”, but the reality is everyone judges, and everyone gets judged.

I urge you to consider that there are students and professors at St. Francis who work in the career field you are looking to step into; some of whom have powerful positions and may be able to help you get the job faster.

The fact is,who you know and what they think about you is important. Clarence Thomas said it best, “Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot!”

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