Surely there are times when you find it hard to stay motivated and psyched during class, especially when you are not particularly fond of the subject or because the way the information is being taught to you is just not engaging.
By now, you may have mastered the art of sleeping with your eyes closed or have become a legit doodle artist. Sometimes you may even wonder if you are that close to stopping time with your dreadful minute-counting.
With procrastination as our nemesis, we know that it is always better to pay attention and learn the new knowledge in class than to figure it out on our own later. We do not want trouble with our teachers or professors, and the end goal is to get good grades and complete the course. But boring classes are inevitable, so here are some survival tips.
#1. A good night’s sleep is the rule of thumb
Having enough sleep the night before helps you concentrate in even the most mentally draining class.
#2. Eliminate all electronic distractions
Whilst class is in session, do not be on your phone texting, scrolling through social media feeds, or playing games. Put away your electronic devices, turn off all notifications, and pay attention. It is also about showing respect to the speaker who is working hard to impart knowledge to you.
If you do not think you have the self-discipline, use third-party apps to help you stay off your phone. If you are using the laptop to take notes, refrain from opening that internet browser. There is no need to turn to Google when your professor is just right there.
#3. Take notes
If you struggle to concentrate in class, reach for your pen and paper to take notes. Listen for keywords, and rather than transcribe in full verbatim, summarise and write out what you understand in your own interpretation. Studies have shown that notetaking by hand encourages more consideration of what should be written and forces the mind to work a little harder. Buried in deep thinking and fervent scribbles, the class will be over before you know it.
#4. Study the material in advance
You will naturally be more engaged when you have some background of what will be taught later in class. You will have a greater incentive to hear what the teacher has to say as you seek to clarify doubts or validate your understanding. That is how you can gear your interest from zero to hero!
#5. Ask questions
If the presentation fails to engage you, take the initiative to involve yourself. Show that you are (trying to be) interested in the subject and ask questions. You will also be doing your classmates a favour by breaking up the monotonous lecture pace. There is no better way than to have an interactive Q&A to kill class time.
#6. Avoid counting the minute
Can you stop time? No. But time will be perceptively slower when you are obsessed with counting it down to the minute.
#7. Brr… Pop a mint
When you feel cold, your body works harder to keep itself warm, making you more alert. So, you may want to take a cold drink with you and sip on it in class to stimulate your senses for better focus. Whilst drinking is probably okay, do not eat in class. Besides the fact that it is rude to eat in front of your professor, if you are even allowed to, the constant munching and the crinkling sound of your bag of chips will distract your other classmates who may actually be paying attention in class.
#8. Pick the right seat
If you can choose where to sit and you know you need to survive this lecture, sit right in front of the teacher. In that way, you would less likely fall asleep or look at your phone.
Every class has a student or two who are the notorious targets of the teachers because they are the well-known violators. There are also the limelight hoggers. Sit near these people to be within the teacher’s radar, and that will force you to be attentive. As for the enthusiastic classmates, you can also feed off their energy.
#9. Take five
If you need to splash some water on your face for a quick refresh, move your legs to get some blood flowing, or change your scenery to recharge, take a short break to the bathroom or walk around the school compound. Come back stronger but do not be tempted to run away!
#10. Examine the root cause
With the nature of the subject aside, the most common reason as to why some classes are dreadful to sit through is because of how the information is being delivered. We all learn differently. Some learn better by reading and writing; others respond better to sound, imagery, or movement. By knowing your own learning style, you can better adapt the information to your understanding even when it is taught to you in an alternative way.
#11. Think of it as a career preparation
If a class bothers you that much, how will you survive work? Every job has its share of mindless meetings and mandatory workshops and conferences that you cannot excuse yourself from. Learning how to overcome boring classes in school will prepare you for your professional life. Change your perspective of a dull, dreadful session and focus on the benefits it can bring to support your dream.
There must be a reason how your mates survive these same classes that you find particularly hard to sit through. Ask them to share their tricks, and they may just work wonders for you!
Be adaptable; be a self-starter. In any setting, you have the power to be present as you choose to be. Boring or not, make the choice to be present in class.