Benefits of sitting front and center

What’s the most coveted seat at Eastern?

Is it that front-row, 50-yard line seat in O’Brien Stadium? Or a floor seat in Lantz Arena so close you hear every word in the team huddle?

Nope. Not even close.

The hottest seat, in fact, has nothing to do with sports- although the gap might be closing.

Answer: the front-row seats of many of the general education classes this fall.


Just think about it. The number of students is up, and the money supplied by the state to fund programs and pay professors is down.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem attending classes densely populated or paying a higher tuition, but the fact remains, with larger class size averages, the unobstructed view of the front row is a luxury that’s growing in demand.

“By sitting up front, you don’t have as much to focus on,” Russell Gruber, a psychology professor, said. “You’re more likely to focus on what’s in front of you.”

Case in point. I arrived in Coleman Hall Wednesday for a political science at 11:53 a.m. expecting the classroom to be spotted with a few enthusiastic students. Upon stepping into the jam-packed room, 40 heads turned and 80 eyes stared as I made my entrance.

Worse off, as I made my way to the far right corner of the classroom, it just so happened the token 6-feet-7 behemoth had effectively done a “total eclipse of the professor.” Oh, and it smelled like he hadn’t showered.

I almost always sit in the front row in all of my classes. Usually, I can see the nose hairs of my professor. For 50 minutes Wednesday afternoon, however, all I saw was the back of a 3XL “Hooters: Delightfully Tacky, Yet Unrefined” shirt. My notes were terrible and I couldn’t concentrate. I noticed people chewing gum, a dropped pencil and the pretty blonde in row No. 6. And not the professor.

The back row sucks.

Keep in mind, I showed up seven minutes early for class many of the seats were taken. Could attending a general education class soon evolve into high demand, low supply of a big-time sporting event?

I doubt any student will camp out in Coleman to nab the front-row seat for an 8 a.m. English class any time soon, but showing up 10 minutes early might not be out of the question.

What’s the big deal with sitting in the front row anyways? The second-row isn’t that far away. Some students could care less where they sit, or even, what grades they receive because, “C’s get degrees.”

Showing up for class is an accomplishment, whether students sit two feet away or 200, but sitting in the back just isn’t for me.

I enjoy the pressure sitting in the front row has. I like knowing if I fall asleep, the professor will probably wake me up. Best yet, a certain level of familiarity is established with professors who, under different circumstances, may only remember your name or identify you as “the guy in the back row who drools on the desk.”

Because sitting closer to the action in a classroom, not unlike a sporting event, is better. It’s the view. It’s being a participator and not a spectator.