The death of common courtesy

As young adults, college students should have the ability to understand conventions of common courtesy and a sense of personal responsibility for living in a communal setting. Unfortunately, too many of us fail to acknowledge this necessity, myself included.This past weekend my residence hall held mandatory floor meetings in order to address these issues within our building. There are two dynamics to the problem: sense of courtesy and sense of responsibility.Though this topic may seem ridiculous, how many times have you walked into the laundry room and seen that a washer or dryer is done with its cycle, walked out for ten minutes, and then upon returning found that the same machine was still occupied? How many times have you walked into a hall kitchen to be greeted with some else's mess? How many times have you been disturbed while studying during quiet hours? How many times have you walked into the bathroom to see an unoccupied faucet still running?Each of these issues can be avoided without hall meetings and a litany of rules. If everyone simply acted with a decent amount of courtesy and considered the ramifications of living with other people - at least some of the time; nobody's perfect - then things would run much more smoothly.How can one expect people to constantly act with regard for those around them? In many cases, if people were simply to hold themselves accountable for their own actions, then these incidents could be controlled or avoided.Personal responsibility means being responsible for your actions. Once while I was dining at Red Jacket, I saw a group of students get up from a table while leaving all of their waste behind. I was outraged when I heard one student say, "I'm paying the tuition. Someone else can clean up the tables … It's not my job."If you make the mess, you clean it up. If you own a book, keep track of it so you don't have to blame others when it goes missing. When you mess up, own up to it, and don't look for ways to displace responsibility onto others.The most disturbing aspect about the floor meeting I attended was that the suggested reason for the messy kitchen problem was that students from other halls use it. Is that a fact? Yes. But that is also a cop-out. It's our kitchen; it's our responsibility.Isn't all of this common sense? I think so, and, intellectually, I believe that everyone else who reads this will think so, too. The challenge, then, is to bring this common sense into practice.If you understand that you need to have courtesy for others and a certain degree of personal responsibility, then do it. Let's stop talking about it. Victory comes when this issue no longer needs to be addressed. But until then, we can't deny it and dismiss it as common sense.

Jesse Goldberg is a freshman English major who really wants, politely, to slap someone.

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