Your Toolkit for Surviving a 3 Hour Lecture

Most of us will end up having to take a three hour class in our college career. For those of us with a short attention span, any class more than 50 minutes can feel like a killer. But we know that you can make it through that three hour lecture, and we've got what you need.

1. An Alarm That Works

I know we all want to wake up to sunlight gently warming our faces while chirping birds revive us slowly from an 8-hour slumber, but sometimes you have to be awake for a 9 a.m. three hour Arts Management and Entrepreneurship class that you regret signing up for but is required for the minor. That’s life. The first step to setting an alarm is to accept that you are not yourself when you first wake up. Morning-you does not have your best interests at heart. The 7:45 a.m. version of me can and will snooze an alarm three times in a row, eventually turn it off, and convince herself to skip class all while the real me is still wondering if this a dream. Knowing this, I make sure to allot myself time to go through the five stages of grief before I actually get out of bed. If you have a similar distaste for mornings, you should make sure to take that into account when setting your alarm. Now, knowing what you know about morning-you, set a real alarm. This means different things to different people. Maybe you just need the volume a bit loud, maybe you need your phone at max volume with vibrations on or maybe you need your phone screeching across the room and demanding you solve long division problems by hand before it stops. I’m pretty sure there’s an app for that. A word of caution, though: maybe consult your roommate before setting your alarm to a 5 minute recording of a firetruck racing towards you or whatever it is you need to defeat morning-you.

2. A Pre-Chosen Outfit

Business hours for my brain don’t start until roughly 10 a.m. on weekdays, so if I don’t want to show up to class in whatever I slept in, I have to set out my outfit the night before. Even if mornings are your passion and you’re up to see the sunrise every Monday, leaving your morning-self with as few choices to make as possible streamlines the process of getting ready and significantly increases the chances that your socks will match and that you’re wearing both earrings.

3. Notes

This is an important one. Maybe you are a stronger person than I, but my attention span is nowhere close to 3 hours long. That’s longer than any of the Harry Potter films. Even if you can afford the same attention to a budgeting lecture that you can to the savior of the wizarding world, there’s a good chance that you’re going to miss something. Before going into class, most teachers will have the notes uploaded onto whatever platform they use, most likely Canvas. If not, many will put them up if you ask. Take notes on the lecture before the lecture, so that when you completely zone out 45 minutes in, it’s not a crisis, just embarrassing if you get called on.

4. Coffee

If all else fails, and honestly even if all else succeeds, you can never go wrong with a good cup of coffee. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if you haven’t got time, something is better than nothing. If you’ve got health concerns, try an apple or a glass of cold water. If you have money concerns, try places on campus that aren’t notoriously overpriced: Mac’s sells bottled coffee, you could try instant coffee or even the coffee they have in the dining halls if you’re desperate. If your only concern is making it through class, my personal method is to give my body the old one-two-punch of caffeine plus horrific amounts of sugar with a Grande Soy Java Chip Frappuccino, which has about as much sugar as 3 Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars.

5. A Positive Attitude

I know, I know, I’m the worst, but I promise it really does make a difference. I’m in no way suggesting you need to be leaping for joy before every class. My positive attitude consists entirely of the mantra “You want the minor? You take the class.” repeated over and over again as I try for the third time to tie my Converse in a way that doesn’t look dumb despite my eyes periodically slipping shut. It’s important to remember that you chose to take this class for a reason. It’s only a semester-long stepping stone to whatever end-goal you’re pursuing.


All photos provided by Unsplash

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