Walking to class may seem like a casual, tedious routine. But once you hit the the sidewalks and leave the comfort of wherever your journey began, things become awry. Thousands of people will join you in the uncertainty of exchanged glances and awkward half-waves. The adventure to class may be a lonely road for some of you, so let me help advise you how to successfully get to class without uncomfortable side-hugs or fist-to-high five clusters.
- Pace. Everyone has their own pace that they walk at. Do not conform to someone else’s speed. It is more uncomfortable to walk behind someone at a slow pace than to pass them and possibly have to walk on some rough terrain. Do your own pace. If you think a swift jog might be the best way to go to class then hit that speed and keep on truckin’. You might not get a lot of human interaction other than stares or faint mumbles, but you have to travel at your own momentum. Maybe keep away from a dead sprint though. You might scare some squirrels.
- Animals. Speaking of squirrels, stray away from all campus animals. At Oklahoma State University we have a plethora of fox squirrels and ducks. They are not the typical creatures you read about in your favorite childhood books. These monsters are more dangerous and clever than they might appear. There is nothing more awkward than being attacked by a duck at Theta Pond and trying to play it off like you are not scared of them. (They are also the only things that are legally allowed to drop some chocolate on sidewalks so watch out for that too, because they take advantage of it.)
- Smile. When in doubt, smile it out. There are so many people on campus that you have potentially already met but cannot remember when, where or if that ever really happened. Assume that you know everyone, so you never make the mistake of ignoring someone that remembers you better than you remember them. If you do not know someones name, never guess. Calling someone a name that is not theirs is more offensive than Kanye West’s ego. Use nicknames like girl/boy, buddy, amiga/amigo, champ, etc., or just say hello.
Attire. Don’t dress up. Unless you are required to for class, work, a panhellenic chapter, etc. This is a personal preference. I do not want to be reminded that I woke up a little to late to have time to figure out that my entire ensemble clashes worse than the denim skirt/tight shirt era in middle school. Also wear sunglasses. Everyone looks cool in sunglasses. Unless you’re Paige.
- Small talk. When you see a friend on campus it is always a very positive, exciting time. You probably want to hear about their weekend or if they watched the most recent episode of New Girl and saw all of the shenanigans that Schmidt has gotten himself into. Well, this isn’t the right time. If you stop and chat, then there is a possibility that you have messed up your pace or formed a barrier for other pedestrians walking. Keep the dialogue short with a quick “Miss ya,” or “You suck.” If something awkward arises from it, then just keep on walking.
Walk to class with your head up. Own a big smile. Say hello to friends and strangers. And don’t forget to watch out for duck shit.
Be safe out there friends.