My 10 Commandments of Class

Ten Commandments of Class*

Jordan Thibodeaux

  1. Thou shalt be present and attentive with no other idols besides learning.

The best way to do well in class is to be there. No devices have ever delivered on the promise of enhancing your ability to learn, and so you must learn to not depend on them. When in class, rid yourself of obsessing and compulsory checking for text messages, emails, Facebook notifications, Instagram posts, Snapchats, Tinder requests, or tweets.

  1. Thou shalt respect thy peer as thyself.

Understand that you and your peers have a varied history, culture, motivation, and orientation toward life. Opinions may change, but respect of differences remain.

  1. Thou shalt not steal or covet thy neighbor’s work or intellectual contributions.

Collaborating on coursework notes, groups (especially), and other general and particular information is expected. Get to know your peers, because you may need them one day. However, plagiarism and collusion on an exam are not permitted. Honor code violations are taken seriously. Think honorably of your classmate’s work and the work of others, and you shall not fail lest you dash your foot against a stone.

  1. Thou shalt engage with the course content; be it slides, lecture, or text, so as to make it thine own.

Come to the course with an open mind, but also come with hope that you can take the material once foreign to you in order to gain knowledge for your journey. Your brain knows how to make maps. All it needs to do is go on more journeys.

  1. Thou shalt devise a system of note taking.

If you do not take notes in class and are just a “visual” learner, then class will be terrible for you, because this course only appeals to the other senses. Do something different, or your passive listening in class could be cast into the fiery pit of low GPAs!

  1. Thou shalt consult the syllabus for all needs, and ask questions for needs unanticipated.

It’s in the syllabus, and if it isn’t yet, it will be. However, it is good to ask the instructor about clarifying course expectations and requirements.

  1. Thou shalt learn to learn.

Learning happens by knowing what you know and knowing what you don’t know (Make sense?). There are no dumb questions. Saying a question is dumb is making a logical impossibility that would result in the collapse of the universe as we know it. If you don’t ask questions, you will remain forever ignorant. Your question may end up helping others wondering the same thing.

  1. Thou shalt assume the best intentions of thy peers and thy instructor.

Your instructors like students and teaching. Thus, they do not appreciate gossip, slander, and unfounded criticism of any person at this university institution. Go and post your negative Rate My Professor reviews if you must, but know that many people read them and consider the reviews to be cyberbullying.

  1. Thou shalt speak up, not too little or too much, in order to participate in the classroom community.

We are all imperfect beings, but together we make up a whole greater than the sum of its parts. You can only make class better by contributing, but be tactful, respectful, and mindful that you are only one part of the culture and community of learners in the classroom.

  1. Thou shalt learn to adore the course and major which thou didst choose.

No one forced you or took away your inalienable rights to be a college student. You chose to go to college, chose your major, and chose this schedule. Blessed are those who take every course, required or elective, with vigor and without withdrawal. In the end, their reward will be great!

*11th commandment: Thou shalt earn credit, not extra credit.

Ideas (and some phrasing) appropriated from:

Ratzman, E. (2015, January). 10 commandments (Blog). Retrieved from:

Author: Jordan Thibodeaux

Assistant Professor of Psychology

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