The longest walk you can make on my college campus is about 15 minutes at an average walking pace. That would take you straight from one far end to the other. I'd assume this is pretty average, maybe a little more or less, compared to the longest walk at most schools. However, I rarely walk anywhere that takes me more than 10, if not 5 minutes when I'm going at a normal pace. The key to the short times getting around campus is the normal speed. However, I've come to notice that a lot of the time it takes significantly longer to get places because people simply don't have a lick of consideration or common sense when it comes to getting around. I cannot keep silent anymore about the plague of stupid walking choices that plagues our campuses.
I'll start with sidewalks. Fun fact about sidewalks is that unless they're miraculously bigger than average, they are meant to be single file two-way walking paths. They are not meant for a group of 9 people to walk in rows of three, forcing people to walk into planted trees or even into the street to pass them or go around them. The other fun thing about sidewalks is that you're meant to walk on them. They aren't for having a long conversation or standing in the middle of to find your directions. Pull off to the side to do that. Also, they aren't for making out. Pull way off to the side for that, I have a class to get to.
Now, I'd like to return to the idea of walking in a group again. First, I must clarify that I love the idea of friend groups and going places with your buddies. I do so frequently myself. However, I've got to say, just because you and your nine best friends are taking a leisurely stroll down the paths of campus to get lattes or go to a game doesn't mean that everyone else around you wants to walk at your sluggish pace. By all means, enjoy yourself. But please be conscious of your surroundings. I can't say how many times I've been walking and sharing looks of hatred at the back of all of your heads with a group of strangers when you are putzing around, and none of us can get around you. Please, just pair off with your favorite person or whoever is closest and let us go by.
Next, and I'm guilty of this from time to time, is the dreaded cell phone walk. Every day I am making the resolution not to scroll through the entire contents of my phone between classes while I'm walking. And this is hard, I know. It's true that we've only got a few minutes between classes to catch up on tweets and notifications, and I know that this clashes with the fact that your few minutes are also necessary to walk to class. However, if you can't keep a 100% consistent walking pace on your phone as when you're off while managing not to trip or run into anyone, put your phone in your pocket. The time you save by being able to get to class at a faster speed will give you the couple extra minutes to read Facebook posts or check Instagram. Just please, for the love of god, put your phone down while you walk. There's nothing worse than being stuck behind someone walking when you can see them focused on their cell phone.
My last point doesn't involve distractions, friends or phones. This might be something you cannot control, but please be aware. If you're a naturally slow walker, please just be aware of your surroundings. I know that some people just have a naturally slow pace or a shorter stride, but it's really frustrating when this combines with a stance in the middle of a sidewalk or staircase and I've got to be in class in 5 minutes.
Even if you consider your pace normal, I can't stress how crucial it is to be aware of your surroundings. This applies not only for other people's convenience but your own safety. I can't tell you how many times I've seen students almost stroll in front of cars or trains because of their cell phones. I can tell you how many times I've seen students walk into signs or trees, though. I've seen it 16 times since I came to college. I'm not sure why I counted this. The main point is that walking is a skill we take for granted because we've been doing it so long. However, we've gotten comfortable enough to lose our common sense and courtesy. Keep your eyes open, fellow pedestrians.
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