Senior thesis crunch time is quickly approaching, so this seems like a good opportunity to  reiterate the four unofficial computer lab rules. Some of these may seem obvious to you, and you’re wondering why the Forum dedicated an entire article to self-evident principles. Unfortunately, not everyone is as enlightened and considerate as you are, since these simple tips are not self-evident to all.

1) Poppa is not TNC. I understand that you want to chat and procrastinate from doing work. We all do. Sometimes I would rather roast a leg of lamb, or lay out, or sit around my apartment and do nothing at all in order to avoid doing work (especially if that work is thesis). But I don’t go to Poppa (or Ryal, or South Lab) to do those things – I go to Poppa to get stuff done.

Having a 45-minute conversation in the middle of Poppa is not only distracting, it’s disrespectful towards your fellow CMCers. People have lockers in Poppa for a reason (and it’s not because they need extra storage space) – it’s because their lives have taken a sad turn for the worse, and they’re desperate, desperate for a safe place. You talking for 45 minutes means that these poor souls are that much further away from the light at the end of tunnel, from getting to a place where they no longer eat three meals a day in a computer lab. So have a little more consideration for your Poppa-comrades, and take your attempts at flirtatious banter outside the study zone.

Photo credit: Heidi Carlson '12

2) Eyes on the prize. Don’t look at other people’s screens if you weren’t asked to. It’s just weird. If you’re already creeping people out at 20, God only knows where you’ll be at 60.

3) Use it or lose it. Don’t lock your computer for an unreasonable amount time. But what’s unreasonable? Going quickly to the Motley or Hub to get food – reasonable. Going to class – unreasonable. Going to the restroom – reasonable. Going to shot-gun a beer in Appleby – unreasonable. See, it’s easy.

That being said, don’t kick someone off the computer who has clearly just stepped out for a minute. Although seniors have some serious business to take care of, that doesn’t mean we can be tyrants and just stomp all over the underclassmen.

4) Hot off the presses. Somehow, whenever I go to print a paper, there’s suddenly an intense traffic jam at the printer. But standing in front of the printer, trying to find your one page in the midst of 44389024823 print-outs is neither efficient nor helpful toward your peers who are also printing papers, fancy spreadsheets, etc. Instead, take them out, and put them on top of the printer. If you’re nice, sort them out based on people’s names. Be careful not to throw away someone’s name sheet or entire print out.

Happy labbing. One day, you may be fortunate enough to leave.




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Allison Scott is a senior at Claremont McKenna College, completing her degree in Philosophy and Public Affairs. A native of San Diego, she enjoys tide pools, 75-degree weather and the Super Chargers (even when they're less than super). She hopes to one day achieve the cooking expertise of Julia Child and the swagger of Jay-Z, as the former entails the latter. She is a sometimes contributor/always supporter for The Nightcap, the official sports talk radio show of the Claremont Colleges, which airs on KSPC (88.7 FM) and online here, Monday nights from 8 to 10 PM.


  1. Two more ideas from an LTA:

    1. If you print stuff out, pick it up. I hate starting my LTA shift by throwing away 60 pages that somebody printed the night before and never picked up. It’s bad for the environment and it’s a waste of CMC’s resources. Throwing away your cover sheets after printing would be a nice gesture too.

    2. Pick up your trash. While Poppa does have a tendency to get messy while people are eating (and living) there, it’d be great if people threw away their food after they’ve finished so I don’t have to sit next to a 3 day old to-go box.

  2. Wow. Is that a picture of Chris Blees? He is such a STUD. I would SO do him if given the opportunity.

  3. A clarification on lab rules:

    You are allowed to leave your computer unattended for up to 15 minutes, however locking computers is never allowed. LTAs are instructed to restart any locked computers they find.

  4. Does environmental Pomona do cover sheets? Seems like a big waste of paper but I don’t know what the alternative is.

  5. Just because you are not from the Upper East Side of NY does not mean you can make all these rules up. I am the one and only Queen of Poppa.

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