In Many, Proper Etiquette Lies Latent

Here at Choate Rosemary Hall many students act as though they are the only contributing factor to a school that is managed day in and day out by devoted faculty and staff. We litter the floors of St. John Hall, we often hold side conversations every chance we get during school meetings, and we seem to complain about the SAGE offerings every day. We give the Tuck Shop workers occasional dirty glances when our food does not come out instantly. We tend to think about college within the first month of our time at Choate — it’s simply who we are.

Moreover, too many of us eagerly mock our classmates’ imperfections. Mispronounce a word in class, and a student will snidely whisper the correct pronunciation under his or her breath. Stumble over a phrase when delivering an announcement at school meeting, and someone in the audience will certainly snicker. Ask a question that has already been answered in class, and be prepared to catch heat from your classmates and potentially your teacher, too. Given the competitive nature that drives the majority of us to prioritize our own lives over the lives of others, the room for error shrinks as you move up the totem pole of Choate. We feel the need to show our peers and faculty that we are right, that we stand above the others.

The hypocrisy of this reality lies in the fact that mistakes are noticeable — and every single human being on our prestigious campus makes them, whether or not they are pointed out by someone. Take, for instance, our email communications with faculty. Too many times, I have seen a slang-filled email sent by a student to a teacher that lacks, for instance, proper uppercase letters and punctuation. Our generation appears so caught up in the language of abbreviations and emoticons that our college counselors must remind us how to write a proper email to a college officer. One would think that a student attending a school as reputable as Choate would be able to distinguish a text to a friend from an email to a college official.

This issue among Choate students does not stop at the boundaries of the campus grounds: our ignorance also extends to the greater community of Wallingford. Whether it be in local restaurants, shops, or parks, many Choate students carry themselves in a way that is seen as self-absorbent and unaware. Cars patiently wait for students to saunter across the street. Wallingford residents oftentimes put up with our obnoxious voices in public places that they likely occupied long before us. Worst of all, local waiters and waitresses, who serve us tirelessly, are sometimes left incredibly underwhelming tips. These ordinary occurrences can easily be mitigated if we think of others before we think of ourselves.

As a student body, we need to focus more of our energy on proper etiquette. We have the potential to be a campus filled with support, care, and respect. At Choate, we are constantly raising our own standards and becoming the best students we can be. While this personal growth is integral to the Choate experience, we also need to acknowledge that life at Choate and beyond will serve us better if we emphasize the improvement of our own character. Combine a population of 800 students who have committed to the idea of saying hello on the paths, listening to whomever has the floor, and supporting those who need it without condescension, and the atmosphere of this school will improve drastically.

This editorial reflects the view of the 111th Masthead of The Choate News.

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