November 16, 2003

A Call for some Thoughtfulness

Hello kids...this is another entry that could merit a disclaimer, but because it's about common courtesy, I don't feel pressed to add one.

I've noticed the need for some kind of initiative to rally for a recreational computer lab. For we who remember the Cyber-Castle, that sad excuse for an area to goof off on computers is more useful now that it's gone - no one will ever again waste a trip to Sullivan in hopes that IT will keep its perpetual promise that the computers have been fixed. My issue is not that I think we're in dire need of community labs for playing games and downloading music. It's that I feel that if Seton Hill continues to accept people into the community that cannot handle themselves responsibly in public, it needs to provide them a place to behave the way they do without disturbing those around them.

I am a loud typer. This fact weighs on my mind every time I set foot in an academic computer lab. As I type, I am constantly aware of how much noise I'm making, wheter or not people are around, and am always trying to minimize the disturbance as much as possible. When I am startled repeatedly in the time it takes to type a two-page paper by an Ashanti ringtone, however, it becomes very difficult to care about how the sound level of my typing will affect those around me.

I will be the first to admit that I am a cellphone addict. I understand as much as anyone that we all forget to turn our ringers off (or even down would be nice) every now and then. Maybe you just pop into a lab to check your email and your phone happens to ring. That's understandable. What's not is why the hell anyone would think to put their phone on vibrate and then put it on the table. It makes just as much noise as the ringer would!

My procedure for handling cellphone situations is simple. My ringer is off during class and whenever I'm in a setting where others are working. If I do answer, I leave the room or say briefly that I'll call back. If I forget to shut the ringer off, I quickly accept or reject the call to stop the noise. None of these things has made my life any more difficult. I promise.

There are many other violations of computer lab etiquette taking place at Seton Hill on a daily basis. Someone quietly playing games, however, beats someone talking on the phone, listening to MP3s, and typing a paper any day. Maybe if responsible lab users are given a space where only legitimate work is done, that space won't have to be locked up at 6 pm due to vandalism. Maybe it could even be a space where the paper could be set free, its placement in the printer no longer subject to the whims of elusive workstudies. Wouldn't it be wonderful?

Disclaimer at the end: I don't mean to ignore the fact that the writing center is one such wonderful place. The burden of creating a true working environment, however, should not be placed on them. When we're paying as much as we are to attend an ACADEMIC institution, the availability of an ACADEMIC experience in an ACADEMIC computer lab should not be limited to one room in 5th admin.

Posted by Jess P at November 16, 2003 5:22 PM

An added bonus: Since I wrote this post, I've been disturbed by two people on cell phones, two loud conversations, one person yelling, and one person stomping on the floor. Fun times! I'm packing earplugs from now on.

Posted by: Jess P at November 16, 2003 10:16 PM

The writing center ROCKS, and we're often overlooked as an area for independent study and writing. People can come in whenever we're open and use our computers and research materials. Oh, and we have toys that people can play with also. However, we're only open (usually) until about 4 p.m.

The tutoring center is another nice environment, but that can get rather loud depending on the number of students visiting the tutors.

Posted by: Kate Cielinski at November 17, 2003 10:11 AM

I'm writing this from the computer lab on 3rd admin. A girl in front of me just opened an can of soda very loudly. In the computer lab!! Am I the one that forgot the rules, or should there not be beverages or food of any sort near the machines? Heh, that was funny... she just dropped her mouse on the floor. I don't know why, but that was funny.

I agree, Jess. It's imperative for me to have a quiet working environment. Since I ran that awful CD in my computer like the IT department asked, I've had nothing but problems with my computer, so I use labs. At least in Brownlee people are pretty considerate to be quiet if you ask...

Posted by: Karissa at November 17, 2003 3:46 PM
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