Iowa Alumni Magazine | February 2011 | People

Mind your Ps and Is

By Tina Owen
Miss Peggy Proper steps from the pages of the UI's 1939-40 "Code for Co-eds" to offer some timeless advice on manners for college and beyond.

We're all happiest when we know what to do and where and when to do it—both at college and afterward. These simple principles can help you achieve the Three Ps—Popularity, Poise, and Personality.

Appearance

Remember that quality is more important than quantity, and simplicity is always an asset. You will never be judged by how many or how expensive your clothes are, but by their suitability and the way in which you wear them.

Correspondence

There are times when a written word is your duty to family and to the sacred bond of friendship. Letters of congratulation and sympathy written simply and sincerely should never be left undone if there is occasion for them. IntroductionsYou will make a pathetic showing if you can only look at your toes and mumble a garbled "Glad to meetcha." There is no death penalty for asking a name a second time, or for graciously introducing yourself when your best friend has taken it for granted that you and the stranger are intimate buddies.

Conversations

To be a good conversationalist, you must have other people's interests at heart. In other words, you must be a good listener and use sparingly the little word "I." Don't tell all to perfect strangers who aren't really as interested in your private troubles as you might imagine. And limit your criticisms of others.

Relationships

Don't let anyone tell you that to be popular you have to pet, smoke, drink, or follow the "in crowd." Your own personal standards are valid. Membership in any select group means work and responsibility, as well as fun. In any friendship, look before you leap, and once you are in, make the most of the swim.

Work ethic

Bolster your bodily attendance in class or at work with a little mental and spiritual support. Just occupying your seat doesn't guarantee an education or a job.

Activities

Get acquainted with many activities so that you may later specialize in one or two. Often, people make the mistake of dabbling in too many and never accomplishing anything in any.

Find inspiration

There are hundreds of interesting and exciting things to do on and off campus, and it's up to you to discover them. Don't hold your breath waiting for some obliging fairy godmother to cram your hours full of exciting entertainment. An occasional nap won't be amiss in your leisure time, or a pause in the evening to sweep in the magic of the sunset.

Follow these guidelines for the Three Ps, and your life will be written large with the Three Is: Ingenuity, Inspiration, and Iowa.