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Too Frequently Asked Questions During a Lecture

We’ve all had the displeasure of sitting through the first lectures of the semester, during which we feel socially obligated to participate in painfully awkward ice-breakers that fail to reveal our authentic virtues. These cursory introductions are then followed by the recitation of the syllabus, which could’ve been done by each individual in the comfort his or her own bed.

After sitting through this five times over, we grow numb to this routine.

However, there is one emotion we can not overcome during this routine. That is, the frustration invoked by those who ask inappropriate questions. These too frequently asked questions come in two main forms and only misuse time allocated to the lecture.

1. Questions that are already answered by the syllabus such as:

  • “What day is the first test?”

  • “What are your office hours?”

  • “How many points is each test worth?”

As the class begins to transition from syllabus material to lecture material, it is imperative to maintain focus rather than unreasonably consuming valuable time and irritating others in the process. A good rule of thumb is to exhaust all other sources before asking the professor during a lecture.

2.  Questions that do not pertain to the entire class such as:

  • “Did you get my email about my withdrawal from this course?”

Inquiries beginning with phrases such as this usually do not affect the majority of the class. In my personal experience, I have noticed that my classmates do not care about the grade of the individual sitting in the aisle seat of the third row.

3. Questions that restate the information the professor has just iterated such as:

  • “So basically what you’re saying is…..*restates main points of lecture*?”

These types of questions waste time. The answer to this question could most likely be found in the summary portion of the end of the chapter in the textbook or in the outline of the lecture. If these sources are exhausted the question should be saved until after class or crafted into the form of an email.

4. Questions that could be answered by him or herself such as: 

  • “Do we need to take notes on this?”

We have all heard the line, “Anything presented to you in this course is fair game for the exam.” Decide for yourself whether or not you need to make note of the information. The professor cannot tell you whether or not you understand something enough to refrain from writing it down.

Lectures are limited to certain time intervals, but the internet is a vast expanse of information; it allows us to inquire as infinitely as possible. Crafting an email or directly speaking to a professor is a more personal way of asking one of these types of questions without robbing the other 399 students of their time and therefore their money. 


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She is black, but she is not bitter. She is stern, but she is not rigid. She is tolerant, but she is not weak-minded. She is powerful, but she is not intimidating. She is wise but she is not all-knowing. She is spiritual, but she is not divine. She is analytical, but she is not uninspired. She is female, but she cannot be muted. 
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