Student faints after peer took ‘unassigned assigned seat’ on exam day

Senior hospitalized following one underclassman’s appalling behavior

More stories from Erica Jones

DIY diaries
May 9, 2018

The students of Biology 152 were in for a shock when one of their classmates hit the floor Monday morning – and not to show off their spectacular dance moves.

After entering the classroom at 7:54 a.m. and seeing a peer in her chair, senior geography student Hava Seet slumped into a heap and fainted in front of her class.

The class was set to take its midterm exam, one which would cover several chapters worth of material from a textbook Professor Alfred Charleston wrote himself. He said he thought perhaps Seet fainted due to high anxiety surrounding the test. Subsequently, he cancelled the class period and the exam while the ambulance arrived to tote off Seet’s limp body.

However, Seet said it was caused by her horror at seeing another student in her “unassigned assigned seat,” a place in any classroom a student deems to be theirs on the first or second day of class and sticks with for the rest of the semester.

“I had no clue what was happening,” Seet said. “I came into the classroom and saw this girl sitting in my spot like she owned the place. I opened my mouth to say something, but suddenly I was seeing stars, and the next thing I knew, I was staring up at the white hospital ceiling wondering what I did to deserve such a personal attack.”

Undecided freshman Ida No, the student who was sitting in Seet’s place when the latter lost consciousness, said she was unaware of the trauma she would cause by sitting where Seet felt she belonged.

“I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal,” No said. “It’s not like we were assigned seats in this class. I didn’t think anything about picking a new spot until she passed out at my feet.”

However, No said she knew something was wrong the second Seet started to sink to the floor.

“Before her eyes rolled back into her head, she locked them on me, and I just had a gut feeling it was somehow my fault,” No said.

After coming to, following what doctors said was a several-hour period of unconsciousness, Seet said she wanted to talk to No to make sure she understood what had happened earlier in the day. While she said she didn’t want to make her classmate feel guilty, Seet said it was important the freshman hear the truth so she could learn from her mistake.

Despite this attempt to sugarcoat the news, No still took it hard. In response she profusely apologized, swore it wouldn’t happen again and retreated to the caf to drown her sorrows in blueberry cheesecake ice cream, No said.

In the future, Seet said she hopes never to relive such a stressful situation, one that can be simply avoided by students choosing a chair early on in the semester and not straying from it – ever.

“Everyone understands the unspoken rule: You don’t sit where someone else has already sat, especially six weeks into the semester,” Seet said. “Let this be a lesson to all students at UW-Eau Claire. If you decide to play musical chairs throughout the semester and switch up your seat of choice, you could, without knowing it, ruin someone else’s life. And that’s something pretty heavy you have to live with.”