Happy first week of school, ya shmucks. This means not only do you have to start being relatively sober on weekdays, but you also have to prepare for the unforgiving landscape of the Mahar lecture hall. There are some things you can play by ear: how much you bathe, whether you’re going to finally uninstall Tinder, and how many pens you should bring depending on how responsible your neighbor is. That being said, some things deserve a little forethought. Pre-determining where you’re going to sit in your lecture halls is a vital process that requires a little introspection.
The Hard Front:
In many classrooms, and Mahar in particular the “front” would define Rows 1-5. Sitting in the very front of the room — Row 1 — is a position that only the hardest of hardos can claim. Don’t sit in the Hard Front if you can’t take the silent heat from everyone else in the room who wishes they were as dedicated to academics as you are. Be mindful that membership in the Front comes with the condition that you ask at least one question per class, no matter how annoying your voice is. Sit here if you ran for class office in high school but didn’t get elected, or if you enjoy breaking the silence in the treachery that is the W.E.B DuBois library elevator.
The Soft Front:
Rows 6-12 roughly constitute the “Soft Front”. Kids here tend to take themselves seriously enough to wait at least 20 minutes to start shopping for toiletries on Amazon. If you belong here, aim to arrive at each class about 30 seconds late. If there are any babes in the rows behind you, you’ll make a lasting impression as a rebel who still wants a nice GPA. It helps if you dress like you’re going to the Rec Center after class. Sit here if you get an exhibitionist thrill out of letting people read your emails over your shoulder, or if you want to maximize the number of people who might smell the weed in your backpack
Rows 12-18 constitute almost a non-denominational territory. Anyone can sit here, especially those who probably will drop the class. In these rows, you won’t get picked off by a professor to answer a question, you can listen to porn sounds in one earbud pretty discreetly, and you can anonymously eat a really noisy chips or a two week old cellophane-wrapped sandwich from Blue Wall. It’s also the perfect spot to pour out your coffee and watch it trickle down into the shoes of all the nerds in front of you. Sit here if you don’t plan on buying the exorbitantly priced textbook, or if you’re a middle-aged man who got lost on the Pioneer Valley bus loop.
The last rows are for the real degenerates in the building. If you think you belong in the back of the lecture hall, you should reconsider whether higher ed at UMass is right for you. Sit here if you smoke a pack of cigs every week by bumming them individually at the Southwest bus stops, or if you drink warm, flat Nattys the morning after getting kicked out of Theta.
If you don’t think your seat in a lecture hall is any reflection on your lifestyle, think again. At the end of the semester, it will matter a lot where you sat. So don’t mess this up and switch seats — it screws with the classroom ecosystem. Good luck.
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