Editorial | 4 tips for first-year etiquette

Welcome back for the 2022-23 academic year, dearest readers. We hope that you have a wonderful start to the semester and that the tribulations of previous pandemic-influenced years aren’t as present in your lives. Granted, the pandemic is still raging around the world, causing Pitt to tell staff, students and faculty that we must wear a mask one week, only then to make it optional the next. It’s all a bit confusing, but nothing we can’t overcome. 


Now, if you’re a new student this year, below are some simple tips for proper etiquette this year. 


There are a lot of you this year — some might even argue too many, considering that nearly 5,000 new students were enrolled as of February. There are about 18,000 undergraduate students, meaning the class of 2026 accounts for about 27% of all undergrad students. 


Regardless, there are literally thousands of you learning how to live on your own, navigate college and have a social life. It’s a lot. We get it. But please do your best to be considerate of those around you also trying to do their best. 


  1. Walk on the right-hand side  

While walking in Oakland, the sidewalks can look overwhelming. Thousands of people walk the slabs of concrete laid all over campus, but there seems to be an unnerving phenomenon year after year — people walking wherever they please. I understand that you and your 10 floormates from Tower A want to go to Dunkin’ for your overly-milky afternoon coffees, but from the Ed Board to you with love, we beg you to please be considerate of the people trying to make their way around your friends standing in a giant semi-circle that occupies the entire width of the sidewalk. Stick to your side, the right side, of the walkway and everything should be all sunshine and rainbows. Thanks! 

  • If you’re lost, step to the side

Are you unsure where to find your insanely packed Intro to Psychology class? Did you happen to forget the room number five minutes after looking at the screenshot of your schedule on your phone? Is your Google Maps or Waze taking you in the correct direction? These are all valid things to be forgetful or unsure of, but please, if you’re lost or unsure of where you’re going, MOVE TO THE RIGHT HAND SIDE! Whether it’s in the entrance of Cathy or on the sidewalk in front of your academic building, find a spot where tons of people aren’t trying to navigate around you. It’s the courteous thing to do. 


  1. Ask for help

First-years, we were all once like you — we didn’t know where the bathroom was on the third floor of Hillman, we weren’t sure where our ground floor classroom in Cathy was located, and we barged into rooms whose lectures we were embarrassingly late for. It’s okay to not know where things are, but it’s not okay to continue being ignorant. 


Asking an upperclassmen or security guard can be intimidating, but trust us, it pales in comparison to wandering around aimlessly — a surefire way to end up in people’s way. It will save you further anguish and time, and in college, you need all the time you can get. 


  1. Join The Pitt News 

If you’re a first-year, we understand this column might come across as though we don’t like you, but the truth is that we do! We love you all so much, in fact, that we encourage you to apply for The Pitt News. A fun and involved way to become familiarized with Pitt, TPN is composed of editors, writers and digital creators from all kinds of backgrounds and degree pursuits. 

Plus, it’s a way to build relationships with people you otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to interact with. Whether you’ve never picked up a camera, shot a video or written a column, we are here to harness your interests and skills to create the best newspaper we can — and that includes you, class of 2026. For more information about each of the desks and open positions, check out the hiring page of our website.