Common courtesy? It’s just common sense

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Emma Polefko, Contributing Writer

 

Early last week, little fliers were taped to all of the doors around campus, reminding people to hold the door open for those behind them.

On Sunday, a week after the fliers had gone up, I was walking with a take-away coffee cup in one hand and fumbling to get my keycard out of my wallet with the other, when a girl going into West Hall looked directly at me before sliding through the door, not even bothering to hold it open. But hey, the door didn’t have a reminder sign on it, so it’s totally okay that she walked right in, right?

According to Polefko, common courtesy is not as common as it ought to be.
According to Polefko, common courtesy is not as common as it ought to be.

When the fliers first went up, I was confused — why do college students need to be reminded to hold the door open? Isn’t that something that everyone learns growing up? My encounter on Sunday was a lovely reminder that yes, we apparently do have to be reminded.

Maybe I am biased because I am from the South, where displays of courtesy are taken for granted, but still, it’s honestly a bit pathetic that we have to be reminded to be polite.

Courtesy goes beyond holding doors for people, however. Our generation as a whole lacks common sense and common courtesy. The University of Dallas, for the most part, is a huge exception to the rule, but even here I witness shameful acts of discourteous behavior. Common sense and common courtesy involve simple actions and thoughts that are often forgotten.

Dr. Hatlie dubbed the fall Rome 2013 class the “Common Class” because we “took a good thing and made it common, thus making it better.” He mentioned two fall Romers who would thank him and the other professors before moving on to their next class or to the mensa for lunch. It wasn’t like these students thanked their professors just once, either — they did it often enough to make a significant impression on the professors.

Thanking a professor for class is a simple action that takes little time, but when was the last time you did it?

Also, phones in today’s society — oh, goodness. If you’re eating dinner with someone, please put your phone away. You’re at dinner with another person or a group of people, and you should be able to give them your undivided attention.

My sister came home from dinner with her friends one night, and the first thing she said was, “They were all on their phones all night. It was so obnoxious.” We all think it’s obnoxious, but how often do we do something about it?

Next time you’re at dinner and you’re tempted to take your phone out, make a game out of the situation. Have your friends put their phones in the middle of the table face-down — the first person to check his phone has to pay the entire bill.

We’re poor college students, so don’t get too ambitious with this game, and definitely don’t pick up your phone first, but it’s something to think about. Even if you’re just hanging out with someone, don’t sit there glued to your phone in silence.

The same goes for texting and driving, and the lack of common sense there. I’ll be the first one to admit to being guilty of using my phone a lot, but once you’ve become aware of the problem, you can start making a change.

Common sense and common courtesy go hand in hand. Everywhere you turn, you can see something that could be made better just by making a small and simple change, such as giving up your seat to someone in need.

A friend of mine was home over Christmas with her sister, who is very pregnant, and when they were on a crowded tram, not one person offered his or her seat to her. That’s just wrong.

Boys, not to call you out, but walking on the street-side of the sidewalk and opening car doors — girls notice things like that.

Being on time is another tiny detail that makes a big difference. In today’s society, it’s hard not to know what time it is, since cell phones are useful for much more than just staying connected, and watches are more than just a fashion statement.

Maybe I’m being too critical, or maybe I missed the point of the signs, but either way, it would have been nice for the girl to have held the door open, and it would be nice if common sense and common courtesy were truly common.

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