Columns, Opinion

SHEA: Exodus 20

Before I leave Boston University, there are a few (not 10) issues I’d like to publicize regarding general courtesy and how horrible some people’s understanding of it is. These are things that have caused me to give off judgmental stares and furrowed eyebrows throughout the years, things that I’d like to assume everyone has been taught to do as a child.

The first is something I’m sure many of my peers can agree with: T courtesy. To all of the 20-somethings out there with their eyes plastered to iPhones, you are making the case for every article about the Millennial Generation that suggests we are entitled and aloof.

On a weekly basis I witness healthy-looking students not giving up seats on the T to older people, parents with children or just riders carrying a lot of baggage.

To be fair, I once offered a seemingly pregnant woman my seat on a crowded Red Line train, to which she replied, “Do I really look that bad?”

She was not pregnant.

But even the other day while I was standing on the Green Line, I saw a group of kids my age sitting as an ancient-looking woman was struggling for dear life to hang on to one of the car’s stripper poles.

I realize that in the spirit of equality and the death of chivalry, the argument that men should give up their seats for women does not entirely work anymore. But, I’m instead proposing this rule be contingent upon footwear. That’s right. If a woman is wearing high-heels over three inches, I’m just suggesting that it might be a nice thing to offer a seat before she breaks her ankle.

The next on my list is door courtesy. While I don’t expect someone to hold a door wide open while I’m 100 yards behind him or her, the least they could do is stick a hand out to keep it open if I’m directly behind them. It’s almost second nature for me to do that, but each day a heavy door nearly smashes me thanks to an inconsiderate Terrier.

Thank-you notes are also a big deal to me. If someone does something kind for you, consider writing one. The most tacky thing you can do is write a generic thank-you note for someone who has put a lot of effort into advocating for you, which is why I always prefer to write long, thoughtful, personalized (handwritten) letters at the end of each semester.

Finally, although this doesn’t exactly fall under the category of courtesy, it’s a considerate idea for yourself and others to look before crossing the street. If you haven’t noticed, we live along a major artery in a capital city, but I constantly see students with iPods in crossing the street without looking both ways, even when the pedestrians don’t have the light. The first thing I ever learned as a child was to look both ways — it’s not that difficult.

So there you have it. I’m officially checking myself into an old persons’ home.


Sydney L. Shea is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].


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