The Art of Not Irritating Others
Imagine you are a student racing to class. You are about to hop onto the Fullerton Red Line towards the Loop when crowds of people block your way, entering and exiting the train. You keep an eye on your phone clock as you wait for the next train to roll in. Hopefully this time you will be able to make it. As you enter the train, you are met with pushing and shoving and every empty seat is taken by student back-packs. The train pulls up to the Jackson stop and a frenzy of student bodies crowd the doorway making it hard to breath. You push through and make your way to the escalators which are equally as crowded leaving you no opportunity to walk up the steps. As you make your way towards the elevators, your speed walking is interrupted by more slow walkers. You see the elevator doors in sight and motion at the crowd inside to hold the door open for you. They do not. Next thing you know you are five minutes late to class and marked tardy.
Experiences like this are not uncommon for DePaul students. College is a place of education: however, at DePaul, there are no classes in etiquette, which is often self- taught. Learning how to respectfully utilize city trains, busy sidewalks and crowded elevators is a skill many students develop over their time spent in college. However, with the prevalence of irritating behaviors, it is important that incoming freshmen learn the ropes sooner rather than later.
“Morning is a super busy time,” said Danny Portel, manager at the only convenience store within the Chicago train stop. “No one cares to wait. It’s very stressful.”
Rush-hour is a frustrating time for many public transport users. Train cars are often filled to max capacity with little to no arm room let alone personal space. Occasionally trains are subject to delays or transport issues that further stress travelers. As a passenger, knowing how to perform in, on and around the train station helps traffic flow smoothly and prevents mass chaos.
“It’s hard coming off the train when the person doesn’t move,” said Alexa Schinderle, student assistant at the Welcome Center. “If you get on too slowly it’s likely I’ll run into you.”
City-student etiquette is not only limited to public transport but the sidewalks of the Windy City.
“Don’t walk slowly in the Loop. Lincoln Park is not as bad but the Loop is super busy,” said Emma Perdue. “It’s more difficult and frustrating to get to class when people don’t move at a quick pace.”
On the train and elevators it is more socially acceptable to be on your phone, however, on the bustling city streets texting and walking slows down foot traffic and infuriates fellow walkers. Many students in the Loop are walking from the train to class on a daily basis and slow-walking causes unnecessary delays, which could result in tardiness. Students also share sidewalks with workers who may be in a hurry. Although walking along the scenic streets of Chicago can be an enjoyable pastime for many, during busy hours it is important to respect the expectations of other and keep up with foot traffic.
It is important to recognize the proper etiquette when riding in DePaul’s elevators.
“When you’re on the elevator be conscious of where your backpack is,” says Schinderle. “As a shorter person it’s really annoying getting hit in the face with someone’s backpack.”
Many students wear headphones or text while on the elevator. While this is not a bad thing it can be disrespectful. It is important that we are aware of our space in crowded areas such as elevators and avoid bumping into people, standing uncomfortably close, and ignoring others because of these distractions.
“Don’t go up just one door on the elevator, it’s better for everyone if you take the stairs,” said Danielle Morin, a junior at DePaul. “Also, hold the elevator door open for others especially when you see someone approaching the elevator.”
It is essential that DePaul students use elevators when necessary, but not at the burden of others. Students like Morin feel that going up one door does not justify the needs for riding the elevator, thus creating more stops for students who have to go up 10 stories. Taking the stairs if you are physically able to when traveling up or down one flight of stairs is considered courteous here at DePaul.
“Don’t put your backpack next to you on the train,” said Emma Perdue, a junior at DePaul University Backpacks are a nuisance on the train because they take up space where people could otherwise sit. This is especially an inconvenience to pregnant mothers, the disabled and the elderly. Although the L provides handicapped seats for passengers at busy periods of the day, seats are often unavailable. By keeping your backpack in your lap or by your feet, more seats are accessible for those who need to sit or should prefer not to stand.
“Don’t sit on the outside seat when there’s two seats available,” said Lando Langreen. “When it’s rush-hour people really need a place to sit.”
Similarly, sitting on the outside seats when there are two seats open communicators to passengers the inner seat is not available. When trains are empty this rule does not apply, however at busy times of the day choosing to sit near the window is the more courteous option. Some may behave this way to avoid sitting next to a stranger and feeling uncomfortable but it is important for students to empathize with those who need a seat, and put another passenger’s feelings before their own.
A highly trafficked area for many DePaul students are the escalators leading out of the Jackson train stop. Walking etiquette in this circumstance dictates standing on the right side of the escalator is appropriate, but blocking traffic on the left is aggravating because people leaving the train in a rush cannot get through.
“Stand on the right, walk on the left,” said Perdue, “the escalators can be stressful if you don’t know your role.”
The L operates at a quick pace, leaving little time for passengers to get on and off the train when it pulls into the station. Knowing where you get on and when you get off helps traffic flow smoothly. Pay attention to your stop and exit promptly when the train doors open so others can also exit.
“I hate it when someone refuses to go out of the door on the train when people need to get off,” said Andrea Giese student assistant at the Welcome Center. “You’re going to be okay if you get off. It takes a second to get back on the train.”
Often when trains are overcrowded, people linger near the entrance in an attempt to secure a spot on the train. However, this creates blockages for both people trying to exit and come aboard. Many train-goers like Giese encourage students to be courteous and allow people to exit first by stepping off the train briefly and then returning to their original position.
Imagine you are a DePaul student racing to class. You make your train, and an open seat, and exit comfortably as the Jackson stop approaches. You are able to walk up the left side of the train escalators because no one is blocking your path. As you wave towards the crowd in the elevator, they mouthing you to come and hold the door open with their hands. You make it to class 10 minutes early, stress free.
Although it is not always easy to be courteous, practicing etiquette while on campus makes the voyage to school a less stressful experience for everyone involved. Whether you are a DePaul upperclassman or an incoming freshman, knowing how to avoid causing frustration, irritation and chaos while traveling to school is a skill all DePaul students should learn.