Last week my colleague wrote about the frustration of hosting an event on campus that was fully booked and then having only ten students show up. The rest of them not bothering to book out prior or send an apology for their absence afterwards. I sometimes wonder if ‘university etiquette’ should be a compulsory core subject for all first-year students. Non-attendance would, of course, earn an E.

Continuing with this theme; another stumbling block for the uninitiated student is how to interact with lecturers and university staff. I have received numerous emails from students that begin with the rather laid-back ‘hey there heather’ and a lecturer colleague of mine was once hailed in the corridor by a double finger snap accompanied by ‘Yo, Kate!’  Most of us have no problem being addressed by our first name – it always prudent to check first though- but there is a difference between being respectfully informal and downright discourteous. Here’s a few more bugbears:

Txt-speak in an email sent from your phone is a big no-no, and save the LOL and emoticons for your friends. Plus if your address is along the lines of ‘’, please think about the image this presents of you. Another gripe of mine is the lazy question. The answer to which the student can easily find out for themselves but cannot be bothered. We are more than happy to answer questions and see students if they have read the information and need clarification, but we appreciate students showing initiative in the first instance.

As a student, it is important to converse in a professional manner with university staff– both in person and via email. If you have queries or require help, remember who you are communicating with. These are the people who are grading your work after all and asking for an extension at 10pm the day after it is due will not win you any favours. Further down the line when you need a reference, it pays to have made a good impression and you will also have developed good habits to take with you as you enter the workplace.

Check out these 5 simple tips on how to approach your lecturer from David Mednicoff writing in the Huffington Post, plus this funny slide show of how not to email and enjoy a good relationship with your university staff.


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Advice, Personal development


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