Late to Lecture: Where Should You Sit?

April 2018 by


We’ve all arrived late for a lecture. For any number of reasons, valid or not, we’ve all been there. It’s a simple mistake to make, but whatever caused your tardiness, your troubles are only just beginning as choosing where to sit can be a surprisingly intimidating ordeal!

Under the gaze of a hundred judging eyes, you must quickly decide where to sit, causing the least amount of fuss.

Do you sit in the front few rows under the watchful eye of the lecturer in an attempt to redeem yourself? Or do you try to hide at the back, hoping to keep a low profile? Here are our top three tips on which seats to avoid if you’ve walked in late for a lecture:

How to arrive late for a lecture

  1. Avoid sitting in the first few rows!
    If you turn up late for a lecture and manage to avoid the tutor noticing, you deserve a medal. It’s very difficult to avoid disrupting the lecture and, even if they don’t show it, we guarantee your lecturer has noticed.

    For this reason, we would avoid choosing to sit in the first few rows. It really depends on what kind of a lecturer you have but if they usually ask a lot of questions, being in their line of sight may mean you are an easy target to pick on for an answer.

    There’s nothing worse than being asked a question on a topic you don’t know (because you only heard half of it!) and you certainly don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you missed the first 15 minutes.

  2. Don’t cause a disruption!
    Unless there is a clear path to the middle of a row, you don’t want to cause disruption to all the other students by trying to squeeze past them. This is likely to draw extra attention to the fact you are late, and probably annoy quite a few people in the process. For this reason, we think it’s best to avoid the middle of any row and always stick to the edge.
  3. Dodge the back row too!
    The back few rows in a lecture hall are notorious for those students who, although present in mind, are not really listening and are probably watching Netflix on their laptop rather than typing notes. If you turn up late for a lecture and proceed to sit at the back amongst the not-so-studious students the lecturer might not be so impressed, even if you are concentrating.

So, those are our top tips on where not to sit if you are late for a lecture, but where is the best seat in the house?

We would aim for the conservative middle section of seats to avoid the firing line but look like you want to be there. If there’s room, stick to the edge of the row so that there is minimal disruption to other students. It might also be best to avoid eye contact with your lecturer for at least 10 minutes to avoid any awkward glances…



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