Student Etiquette: Ten Unwritten Rules about Student Life

Campus-News, Studium...
Harry Canatti

Being a freshman is a hassle. With a new environment, new acquaintances and unfamiliar studies, there is much that needs getting used to. These 10 tips can help you get settled into a new lifestyle.


The daily ins and outs of student life are mostly a puzzling experience for freshman. There are so many aspects that require getting used to, while becoming acquainted with your studies. Settling in takes time and patience. Whether you’re facing it alone or with a buddy, knowing certain facts about campus can help a lot. You may impress your senior student body with your knowledge of the unwritten Dos and Don’ts. New beginnings bring many questions with them. How does one navigate themselves on campus? What informative advice should you know beforehand?


The following article serves to alleviate the stress of starting out on campus and trying to ease into student life at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz (JGU).

1. Online Lectures

Your microphone should be muted during online lectures. Background noises like the television, outside street traffic, screaming kids and eating, etc. should be avoided. Furthermore, your microphone should only be turned on when there is a need for students to speak.

You can opt for turning on your webcam during the lecture, but please pay attention to your background surroundings while online. Be sure that a freshly showered roommate doesn’t run by and ends up streaking in front of  your unsuspecting classmates and professor.

Other things that you should avoid are uncomfortable scenarios such as chatting with a fellow classmate or friend during the lecture. Accidentally posting a private response to the lecture chat or noticing that your microphone is on too late while sighing or complaining about how boring the lecture is.

2. Freshman Woes

It’s the first week on campus and everyone is nervous, shy, and worried about not knowing anyone or anything. Everything is new and scary. Fret not. You’re not alone. Don’t shy away from connecting with your fellow students. They’re experiencing the same troubles and might be grateful for the gesture!

Campus Advice

Try to take advantage of the freshmen events. They’re a good possibility to meet, connect and socialise with other freshmen who perhaps study in the same field as you do. This makes the events, as well as your student life experience, more fun.

For more information on freshman tips, visit here.

3. Getting in Touch with your Lecturer / Professor

Your lecturers/professors are receptive and ready to help with any questions you may have about your courses. Don’t hesitate to give feedback or ask questions, should the need arise. There’s no need to book an entire hour appointment to have a chat with them. Those are already in short supply. A quick chat after your lecture ends or a short email will suffice for a brief Q&A.

Pay attention to using your assigned student mailing account, when writing correspondences. Proper attention should be paid when addressing your lecturer/professor (e.g. Dr., Professor:in, etc.). Informal language should also be avoided - including the use of emojis. Some of your lecturers/professors may adhere to the formalities when corresponding with their students, so it’s good to be on the safe side.

4. Solidarity between Comrades

Don’t leave your fellow student hanging. Should you have a teammate or group work on lecture projects, take the initiative of getting in touch with your group partners. Openly communicate regarding any changes to your health, should you happen to be ill, and about information relating to the work you are to complete with them. Don’t ghost your teammates when the time has come to present your unified course work or project.

Try contacting each other as soon as possible to plan and divide the work needed to be done.

Campus tip

The hierarchies common in high school environment are non-existent at university. Most students are not confined by the structures of age, looks, semester quorums, etc. and are open-minded  and friendly. Take advantage of available possibilities to approach them. Perhaps you get to know some really cool people.

5. Getting Involved on Campus

Aside from your studies, it’s also good to consider participating in campus life.

There are many different types of workshops, sports, language and culture courses available, which are cheap and possibly free of charge. A number of organisations are offered, which one can participate in while getting to know new people. What are your passions? What hobbies are you interested in? Whether you’re interested in journalism, marketing, event management, technology or social media, there are a variety of possibilities available at Campus Mainz e.V., that you could try out.

It’s always good to have the lowdown on campus facts. Perhaps the campus’ history might interest you. Take advantage of learning about the colourful history of the JGU!

6. Respectful Behaviour during Lectures

Remember that you could also have freshman lecturers who are teaching your course programs. They may also be nervous and somewhat shy when lecturing to an entire lecture hall. Yawning, constantly looking at your mobile devices and chattering makes it a more difficult task for your lecturer who is just starting out.

Try behaving in a manner that you would expect from a group of listeners if you were in the position of the lecturer.

Should you happen to turn up late at lectures, please avoid unnecessary noises and disturbances when you arrive in class. It is a great sign of respect that upon your late arrival, you take your seat at the back (if possible) of the lecture hall quietly, as to not disturb and disrupt the concentration of your fellow students and lecturer or professor during the ongoing session.

7. Library Conduct

During the semester, most library spots are taken, and you may not know where to find your own quiet spot to do work. Should you be in great need of a quiet place to study, check out unknown Department Libraries. In this, information on libraries that offer specific literature to your studies can be found.

Though it is not a problem to have some downtime at your quiet spot, do take into account other fellow students who are trying to study.  With a weather of  38 degrees during the summer, you may feel like indulging yourself with a movie, a favourite show, or even a football match. These are activities best enjoyed elsewhere, as to not cause distress to fellow library attendees, and the work they’re doing. Try putting yourself into their shoes: you need a spot to work, and it’s occupied by a restless TV show streamer. You wouldn’t find it great either.

8. “Hey, I’m Trying to Concentrate!”

It’s an unpleasant experience for anyone to experience disturbances while trying to concentrate on the work or lecture at hand. The current lecture subject is really interesting and you’re into the entire topic that is being presented, but you can’t concentrate because your neighbours are chatting up a storm. Wouldn’t you be peeved?

Often there is no mandatory attendance in the lectures or courses you’re taking. Should this be the case, you could use the time to chat with your fellow classmates outside of your respective lecture. Your lecture mates and lecturer would be grateful for the gesture taken, to not to disturb the seminar at hand.

9. The Canteen

At the end of the second morning lecture, almost everyone has the same idea in mind. “It’s LUNCHTIME!!!” 

Here is an overview of the canteens and kiosks available on campus grounds. When using the Mensa, please pay mind to other students and faculty members who are also having lunch.

After enjoying your meal, switch to another spot on campus to hang out. Doing this, frees up places for fellow lunchies to sit and enjoy their respective meals as well.


10. Going Unnoticed during Lectures

As mentioned earlier, the subject of being respectful to your fellow students and lecturers was touched upon. Another action that should be avoided, is viewing #NSFC (Not Safe For Campus) material on your mobile device while neighbouring students in the back row are disturbed by what they might view. Watching shows and movies, which may cause restlessness to other students, loud eating, due to carrots for instance, or pungent foods such as a tuna salad sandwich, are all possible disturbance factors that should be avoided or done discreetly during your campus visit.

These are our ten tips for an easy start to your student life! Figuring out the campus can be difficult, so these tips will hopefully help you navigate this new life in the first few weeks.

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