A Punch Bowl Guide to Van Pelt Etiquette

When entering the library, it is imperative that you do not hold the door for any cognizant being also happening to be entering or exiting. If a person seems to be encumbered by a large stack of books, simply shoot him a look of disgust, and carry on your way. It’s not your fault that he is too poor to afford a laptop. On the other hand, if someone fails to hold the door open for you, make sure you sigh audibly, whilst executing a well-timed eye roll.

Shove past your fellow students to get to the front of the turnstile line. After fumbling in your pockets for no less than 63 seconds, swipe your PennCard with the barcode facing away from you. Even though you’ve done this hundreds of times, you’re special, and you’re allowed to swipe however the hell you want. Who knows, maybe it’ll work this time.

Upon arriving downstairs you will encounter a vast swamp of seats, most of them occupied by people infinitely less deserving of a table than you. After a few minutes of walking up and down the room like a prison guard, you will soon spot someone beginning to close his laptop. Hover over him like a group of thirteen year old boys crowding around an old Playboy. If you do your job right he will start packing up, regardless of whether he is finished with his lab report. Unzip your backpack as loudly as possible whilst complaining to everyone in the vicinity about how your “Professor must be on crack if she thinks [you’re] gonna actually do this essay with all these bid parties going on.”

Spend the next 25 minutes surfing Facebook and watching videos of friendly animals on Youtube. Make a status describing how you’re ready to “VanParty” or that all you do is “lol procrastinate.” Note: around this time you may experience the tickle in your nasal cavity which often precedes a “sneeze.” It’s okay. Such rampant exchanges of bodily fluids are natural, especially in Van Pelt. Frown and make eye contact with the person across from you, then feel free to nasally ejaculate all over the table.

Time for a well-deserved break. Demand that the meek exchange student next to you keep a hawkish watch over your belongings “just for a minute.” Little does she know you’ll be gone for twenty.

Meander on over to Mark’s Café to get some much needed sustenance. We advise that when making your lunch selection, touch, examine, and waft literally every container of food on display. Lunch is an important decision, and it’s entirely yours to make. When waiting for your needlessly complicated coffee order, complain to the people around you about how you’ve never seen such slow and inefficient service. Everyone knows the best way to motivate clinically unfulfilled minimum wage workers is to have pampered students half their age vocally berate them.

As you stampede back to your seat, engage in conversation with an acquaintance. In a library, volume is of the utmost concern. Speak as noisily as possible in order to be heard over the cacophonous sounds of eye blinking, keyboard tapping, and the occasional overwhelmed huff of an engineering student. There is no better time to discuss the intimacies of collegiate existence than during these Van Pelt stop and chats. Fair conversation topics include: the time you were so drunk you hooked up with the sandwich maker at Wawa, how that weird looking mole thing on your leg started growing a hair, and how not only do you think Obama is personally trying to take away your freedom, you also think he’s personally trying to take away your freedom to think he’s personally trying to take away your freedom.

Once comfortably back in your seat, glare at the girl watching your things and check your bag to see if she stole anything. As you eat your lunch, slurp, chomp, and swallow as if you are explaining to an alien species how the human body consumes food. As far as napkins go, we at the Punch Bowl advise you to follow the all or none rule: either use all the napkins at your disposal, or none at all.

Mass snapchat all your friends an utterly hilarious picture of yourself with poorly drawn sunglasses, caption reading “Sunglasses in Van Pelt!” While we’re on the topic of phone etiquette, if someone calls you, let it ring for enough time that everyone around you has the privilege of appreciating your catchy or ironic ringtone. Be sure to answer though, as you don’t want to appear rude by ignoring a friend. This is all tiring work, so we understand if you need a nap. Simply rest your face on the table, allowing about an inch wide pocket for drool collection. By now you should probably scold the gentleman across from you for banging his calculator with the bulbously engorged sausages he calls fingers. If you absolutely cannot fall back asleep, get the mental juices flowing again by blasting ass-clenchingly loud dubstep from your headphones, which by the way, better be Beats by Dre.

Finally, it’s time to get down to business. Sign onto Blackboard, write a two sentence blog post incorrectly analyzing a movie you didn’t watch, pack your things up, and head on out.

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