Keeping up with Kyle: A guide to seminar etiquette

The worst thing about seminars is the people.


This is the first instalment of our brand new weekly column Keeping Up With Kyle, where Kyle, the most miserable of all Tab writers, delivers to you weekly short rants about the state of our campus and it’s surroundings.

It has come to my attention that seminars are full of cretins.  A gathering of all of the worst possible people you could meet at university, here’s how you should be acting to avoid the scorn of student and tutor alike.

working hard, laptop, seminar

Could you please shut the fuck up

Step one, the easiest, arrive on time.  The whole painful experience is only 50 minutes long, showing up at 25 past and wandering confusedly past the tutor at the front to take the most awkward seat in the room is fucking annoying.  If you’re not going to show up in the first five minutes, don’t come.

So you’ve made it to the tutorial, congrats.  You’d better have done some prep.  Literally anything.  You don’t even have to do it all, the bare minimum – just please don’t stare vacantly back at the tutor when they ask you a question.

And on that note, if you have nothing worthwhile to say keep your goddamn hand down.  I don’t care how smart you think you are, I can assure you you’re not the big cheese on the subject of Marxism and its historiographical impact.  I’m sure you browsed the fuck out of the Wikipedia page, but keep your senseless yammering to yourself, or at least plan it out before launching on a never ending, cyclical rant.

Get off your iPad.  Why did you even show up if all you’re going to do is play Candy Crush in the corner, especially when you’re already taking up two seats with your binder, array of untouched pens, laptop and phone,  your bag perched on the chair next to you?

the full array of seminar prep

GOALS: Being the idiot with a laptop

Being the wallflower is acceptable. Keeping an air of mystery around you is a good guard for when people try to string you along to the next social at Bumper, just make sure you play your muteness off as cool.  For that reason, all wallflowers should be fully prepared to answer any question your tutor throws at you.  That way, if you’re picked at random, you’re the silent, brooding character who knows their shit and stuns everyone with your intricate knowledge of the subject.

On the flipside, don’t be that person who puts their hand up to answer every question, you just piss everyone off.  Answering one question per seminar works, you’re engaged but not eager. We’d all rather sit in silence while the tutor repeatedly calls “anyone? ANYONE?” a la Ferris Bueller, than see your wretched hand shoot into the air one more time. You’re just being a show-off.

Finally, and this is possibly the worst rule to breach, don’t be a chatty Cathy. You’re not here to plan your next trip to Juicy and you’re speaking loud enough for the entire room to hear that you’re going for pres at Heather’s. Now we all know it’ll be really awkward because you slept with her flatmate after the Raz one time. Some tutors will ignore it, but some will flip their shit at the chatting and nobody likes an angry tutor, they tend to pick people at random to answer questions.

There you go, you now have all the ingredients on how not to be a knob in seminars. Don’t fuck it up.