In today’s world Universities are international workplaces and we are all well connected with one another, whether that be through the University email and web site or through the official and personal social networking platforms like twitter and linkdin. Our private and public lives become so entwined that it is often all too easy to forget adhering to formal etiquette and behaviours. Also, customs and commonly accepted rules may differ widely from one country to another, so that miscommunication and misunderstanding may result.
When joining a University it is therefore imperative to acquaint yourself with the usual habits and rules. Generally, however, you should always be on time and be polite:
Be on time
Whether you are expected to a lecture and seminar or for a tutorial session, you need to be on time. Lateness is particularly annoying when activities are planned that either require everybody’s attendance or where the arrival of late-comers is disrupting the flow of the lecture. When you arrive late to your tutorials you will lose out as your time with the tutor is cut short. Sometimes your tutor or professor may run late but that does not mean that you can run late. You should always aim to turn up ten minutes early, which will give you time to grab a quick coffee and settle down for the session.
This applies mainly to written communication with University staff. You may be quite friendly with your tutor and the administrative staff for your course or the library because you see them often and for longer periods at a time. However, you are not close friends and so your emails need to demonstrate a respectful relationship. Grammatical errors and typographical errors within emails are not such a huge issue and you shouldn’t get worried about those. However, emoticons and informal language, as well as demanding emails (“I need you to read this” or “read as quickly as possible” or “read now”) are not appropriate. Before sending your email re-read what you have written and perhaps add a couple of niceties into your text. “I am sorry to bother you”, “I know you are busy”, “I hope you are well” do not take up much of your time, but make for nicer reading for the recipient of your email. More about the perfect email is available here.