We have a winner!

The solution to our campus pedestrian problems, as chosen by you readers, is pedestrian lanes! Pedestrian lanes only received two more votes than the informational signs alternative, which placed second. I must say I found this a little surprising, I would’ve thought pedestrian lanes would win a landslide victory. I was however, quite happy with the result, mainly because I believe pedestrian lanes to be the best alternative. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like people are all that great when it comes to reading signs – as anyone who’s used to driving around this city is probably aware of.

As soon as my dreaded exams are finished, I will see if I can come up with some nice visuals for the pedestrian lanes. I believe I have a much greater chance of getting people to sign my petition if I have something aesthetically pleasing to show them. So, if everything goes as planned, I hope that I’ll be able to begin petitioning during the beginning of next semester. I will be the guy standing outside the library, stopping people and blocking the path – ironically enough. If you happen to have any ideas about what you think the pedestrian lanes should look like, please let me know. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

As always, thank you all for reading!

Regards, RW

Group work etiquette!

Today I thought I’d offer some advice on how to make group projects run as smooth as possible. I usually have about one group project per class, which means that over a three-year period it adds up to about 24 group assignments. Apparently, Millennials are supposed to absolutely love group work, however, my experience is that group assignments often end up with group members working on their own and putting their work together at the last possible minute. Whether we like group projects or not, it seems we’re stuck doing them on a regular basis. Hence, I had the idea that I would make a short list of things I’ve found quite useful to improve the results of groups I’m a part of.

  • One of the first things any team should do is to establish a goal. As a group, are we aiming for a pass, credit, distinction or high distinction? Making this clear early on is a great way to avoid future arguments, and it can also serve as motivation, depending on what you’re aiming for of course.
  • Planning is crucial. The earlier you can assign roles, tasks and set deadlines the better it is. Arranging where to meet, and specific meeting times is also incredibly important. Also, there are a number of different meeting rooms around campus and by booking a room ahead of time you can avoid group meetings in cafés or other crowded spots.
  • If issues arise, talk about them. The longer you let problems stew, the worse they’ll get. Bad communication within groups is a recipe for disaster, and what will suffer most is likely to be your grade.
  • Show up for meetings on time. This can’t be stressed enough. I’ve found most issues related to group assignments have to do with members who show up late, or don’t show up at all. If you end up running late for a meeting, even if it’s only 10 minutes, make sure you contact one other member and let them know. And, if you run late once, make sure it doesn’t happen again.

every-group-project-the-hangover

I would really appreciate if you can share some of your best advice on how to make group projects run as smooth as possible. We all have different experiences, and I’m curious to hear about yours!

Regards, RW

10 Essential steps to being a gentleman – Part 2

  1. Stay calm. You cannot control everything that is going on around you, but you can control how you react to situations and the choices you make. If you find yourself in a situation where you fear you may not be able to stay calm, a good solution is to try to find a way to remove yourself from it.
  2. Keep your hygiene in check. This is non-negotiable. Taking a shower or bath once a day isn’t really that big of a deal. We’ve all had that terrible experience of sitting next to someone—on a bus for example—who’s body odour makes a garbage room seem like paradise. Don’t be that guy. Staying clean and smelling fresh is also good for your self-esteem. Hence, keeping your hygiene in check is a classic win-win.
  3. Pick up after yourself. When you make a mess, clean it up. If you’re studying in the library, make sure you bring the paper coffee cup with you when you leave. At the gym? Put the damn weights back when you’re finished. Also, keeping things nice and tidy should extend to your home and car etc. It is sure to leave a good impression on those around you.
  4. Say “Please”, “Thank You”, and “You’re Welcome”. This really is common courtesy. Although this is a real no-brainer, I often find myself without a “thank you” when I hold the door for others. And, you know what’s the best thing about these three words? You’ll make someone else feel better and it’s not going to cost you anything.
  5. Help others. My first thought was, “perhaps you could offer your elderly neighbour some help with shovelling snow,” but then I remembered I’m not in Sweden anymore… So, now I’m all out of ideas. All joking aside, helping others could be something as simple as introducing someone who’s new in town to some cool people you know. It doesn’t have to be all that complicated. And, like most other things I’ve brought up, helping others is an incredibly good way to feel better about yourself.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another”

– Charles Dickens

charles

I hope you find some of these steps useful. If you don’t, perhaps that means you’re already aware of them. Hopefully, it also means you implement them in your day-to-day life. As always, please drop a comment if you have an opinion or if you feel there’s something missing from my lists. Thank you!

Regards, RW

10 Essential steps to being a gentleman – Part 1

Today I thought I’d offer all you men out there some essential steps on how to be a gentleman. Being a gentleman, simply put, means holding yourself to a high set of standards. Obvious aspects of being a gentleman include staying calm, being polite and considerate. The benefits of being a gentleman does not only extend to those around you, but it is certain to make yourself feel better as well. Hence, there really is no excuse for you not to follow these simple steps.

Keep in mind that there is more to being a gentleman than simply following these steps. However, we all have to start somewhere. Any self-respecting man who have intentions of being a gentleman should abide by these rules.

  1. Pocket your phone. If you are in the company of someone else, whether you are sitting down for lunch or out for a drink, try to focus on the other person instead of your phone. Constantly checking your phone is rude, regardless of your intentions. You are basically communicating that you have more interesting things going on elsewhere.
  2. Hold the door. I’ve noticed more and more people who claim it is sexist for a man to hold a door open for a woman. Naturally, this is complete and utter nonsense. Moreover, holding the door is not something that should be excluded only to women, but rather it should be something you do for any follower who is close to the door.
  3. Offer your seat. If you are on a bus, train or subway, and there are no more free seats, then you should always offer it to those who appear to be more in need of it than you are. Good examples would be elderly people or a pregnant woman.
  4. Be mindful of what you say. For this step, I will simply quote Oscar Wilde: “A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.”
  5. Always be on time. Showing up late shows a lack of respect for other people’s time. Being late makes you unreliable, and it will negatively affect other people’s perception of you . Simply put, it’s never attractive. Avoid it as much as you can.

Part 2 of my list will be released on Thursday. And, as always, if you have any thoughts on my list or if there is something specific that you wish to see on my next update, make sure to drop a comment! Cheers!

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#handsomebastard

Regards, RW

Is it a cultural problem?

It’s quite clear that there is no common understanding as to which side people should walk on when it comes to all the different footpaths around campus. As I was sipping on a coffee, pondering about the possible reasons for this, something hit me. Could this be a cultural problem? I mean, international students (I am one of them) make up close to one third of all the students at UNSW and, a majority of of us have at least one thing in common: we come from countries where you drive on the right. With this in mind, I would not be too surprised if at least some of us would continue walking on the same side of the footpath as we grew up doing. And, it would be even less surprising if there was absolutely nothing that indicated that what we were doing was wrong.

This might seem a little far fetched, I mean, it shouldn’t be that hard to pick up, should it? Well, perhaps it isn’t too far fetched, I can think of at least one thing that seems a lot stranger to me. Anyone who’s ever visited any bathroom around campus is most likely familiar with the following image:

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If you ask me, I would have to assume that this is a lot more obvious than which side you should walk on. And, if cultural differences make stickers such as this one necessary, then I would argue that cultural differences also justify something such as:

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There is really no information whatsoever indicating which side you should walk on. Furthermore, this is not only true for our campus, but for the rest of the city as well. I wouldn’t consider it outside the realm of possibility that someone who arrives from overseas would never have this cross their mind. Obviously I’m not implying that only international students are responsible for walking on the wrong side, because that’s simply not the case. However, it would make sense if it is one of the reasons. Also, all it takes in order to completely screw up a footpath is a few people who don’t follow the rules, which then creates a ripple effect.

If you ask me, I believe the pedestrian signs make a lot more sense than the stickers they put in our bathrooms. I’m not saying we should have to choose, but if someone can make an argument for the bathroom stickers, then I’ll be sure to argue for pedestrian signs.

What do you think, do I make sense, or am I simply rambling like a crazy person? If you don’t agree (which would be absolutely understandable), why do you think things are the way they are?

Regards, RW

Proper bus etiquette – Part 2

Today I will continue what I started yesterday, which is to offer you the second part of Proper bus etiquette.

  • Don’t sit in the aisle seat if the window seat is available. This should drive anybody crazy. There simply is no reason for this behaviour unless you’re trying very hard to come across as a douchebag.
    • Also, unless there are still a large number of empty seats on the bus, don’t place your bag/purse/backpack on the seat next to you. It’s just as much of a douche move as sitting in the aisle seat. 
  • Move to the back. This is very confusing to me, but I often find myself having to squeeze past standing passengers in the first half of the bus only to find that there a few to no people standing in the back. Why this is the case I wouldn’t know, but it’s annoying. Just move to the back when you get on the bus. 

back

  • Keep your voice down. Whether you’re talking on the phone or to a friend on the bus, keep your voice down. No one is interested in your conversation. And if you’re listening to music, please don’t force your taste in music – or lack thereof – onto the rest of us. 

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  • Keep your Opal card ready. You shouldn’t start looking for your Opal card as you’re about to enter or exit the bus. Make sure you have your card ready as the bus is approaching, and make sure you have it ready as you’re getting off.
  • Don’t eat hot food on the bus. You may think your food doesn’t smell, but you can be damn sure it does. And, whether or not it smells good or bad is irrelevant. If it smells bad, it’s terrible. If it smells good, it’s also terrible because now you made me hungry.

food

  • Last but not least, don’t forget to thank the bus driver!

If you feel like I’ve left something out, of which I’m sure I have, please share it with the rest of us by dropping a comment! Cheers everybody!

Regards, RW

Proper bus etiquette – Part 1

Although most of what I am about to say will seem obvious to many of you, there seems to be quite a substantial number of people for which this is not the case. I often find myself amazed by the number of people who are completely ignorant when it comes to basic bus etiquette. No one enjoys riding the bus – or at least they shouldn’t – and it surely doesn’t get better when people are sneezing into the back of your head, or when you are standing with another person’s backpack pressed into your face. If everyone did their best to follow these simple rules, bus rides would be a lot less of a nuisance.

  • Allow people to exit first. This applies to buses, trains, subways and, like we talked about a few weeks ago, elevators. It should be absolutely obvious, but as we all know, there are those who seem determined to enter before allowing others to exit.
  • If the bus is crowded, remove your backpack. No one enjoys having a backpack shoved in their face.

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  • If you’re about to sneeze or cough, cover your face. I really shouldn’t have to bring this up, but I do. I constantly see people that don’t bother covering their face, and it’s disgusting. Also, it’s preferable to cover your face with the inside of your elbow, and not your hand.

sneeze

  • Courtesy seats etiquette: Are all other seats taken? If the answer is no, don’t sit in the courtesy seat – unless you’re one of the people it’s there for. People who those seats are intended for should not be put in a position where they have to ask for them, or feel like they’re causing others inconvenience.
    • Furthermore, even if you’re not in a courtesy seat, you should still get up and offer your seat to those in need, such as an elderly person, if all other seats on the bus are taken.

courtesy

This is only part one of Proper bus etiquette, part two will be published tomorrow! If there is something that drives you crazy on your commute back and forth to campus, drop a comment and let me know!

Regards, RW