At some point during your university career you’re probably going to have to take a dreaded 7:00-10:00 lecture. Now if you’re a night owl or just love learning after dark then these classes will be a breeze. But, for those of us who learn better in the a.m. or have a full day of work or classes before an evening lecture, a 7:00-10:00 can be rough. As a student who has been through far too many 7:00-10:00s in my time at uOttawa, I have compiled some tips and tricks to help get you through your evening classes!
Comfort is Key
Three hours is a long time to sit in class, especially when you’re tired. Making sure that you’re as comfortable as possible will hep you to concentrate and focus on what your professor is saying. Some of my go tos include: comfy boots, sneakers, leggings, joggers and cozy sweaters!
Take Notes by Hand
Taking notes by hand not only helps you retain information better, but will also help to eliminate distractions. When you have a laptop in front of you and you’re tired its so easy to go on Facebook or Twitter and completely block out what your professor is saying. In evening classes I always write my notes by hand because I find that I pay better attention to the lecture material and I can’t be tempted by distractions on my computer.
Bring Lots of Beverages
Staying hydrated for your evening classes is essential! Always bring a refillable water bottle with you and fill it up on your way to class or on your break. Drinking water helps to boost your energy by combating dehydration fatigue that makes you more tired and less alert. I suggest also bringing your favorite caffeinated beverage like coffee or tea to help keep you awake, or just your favorite beverage in general to make the class a little more enjoyable.
Sweaters Are a Must
The classrooms at uOttawa sometime feel like the frigid tundra, especially when you’re stuck in there for three hours at a time. Bring a cozy sweater or coat with you to your evening classes to keep warm. I recommend thick cozy sweaters, fleece jackets or anything with shearling insulation! I’d also recommend layering your pieces, that way if you get too hot you can always take something off and then put it back on if you get cold!
Tip: bringing blanket scarves to evening classes is a literal game-changer! Drape them around your shoulders for added warmth and coziness or wrap them around your legs for an added level of comfort!
Try to Eat Something Before Hand
If you can try to eat dinner before going to your evening classes. There is nothing worse than having your stomach grumble through the entire lecture, not to mention that its super hard to concentrate when you’re hungry! If you can’t eat dinner before hand bring lots of snacks with you to eat throughout the class, or go grab a quick bite from one of the stores on campus if your professor give you a break.
You can find the hours for all of the food service locations at uOttawa here!
Make a Friend in the Class
This is a good tip for all of your classes, but absolutely essential for night classes! Having a friend in your class ensures that if you ever need to miss the class that you’ll have someone to send you the notes. Sometimes understanding complex material at night can be particularly difficult, having someone else to run questions by or discuss the material with will help you understand the concepts better. You and your buddy can also help each other stay awake!
If Your Professor Gives You a Break, Take it!
Halfway through most 3 hour lectures, your professor will usually give you a 10-15 minute break. It may be tempting to just stay in your seat and go on your phone, but actually using the break to get up and move around will help you get through the rest of the class easier. Getting up and going for a walk will get your blood pumping and stretch your muscles that have been sitting in the same position for the last hour and a half. Use your break time to go get a drink, peruse the vending machines or go get a snack. Leaving your seat and the actual classroom will also help to break up the time better and make that second half go by faster!
Study for Your Midterms / Exam at Night
One of my psychology professors actually told me this tip! Throughout the semester, your body and brain are going to get used to learning the material at night. Due to the fact that you will be writing your midterms and probably your exam at this time too, your brain will better retain and be able to recall the information if you study it at night. If studying in the evening really isn’t for you, try practicing some multiple choice or short answer questions from 7:00-10:00 a couple of nights before your exam. If you get your brain used to writing exams at night a little bit before hand, it will make a huge difference when you go to take the actual exam!
Be Safe Getting Home!
At the end of a long night all you want to do it get home and curl up in your nice warm bed. To make your journey home as smooth and safe as possible, plan ahead! Check what the weather is going to be like when going home, before you head to your class. Bring an umbrella if needed, an extra sweater or a hat and mitts if its supposed to snow. Does your friend or roommate have a night class too? Walk home together! If you don’t have anyone to walk with you, text a friend when you’re leaving school and when you get home safe, just so they know that you’re ok! You can also get a volunteer from Foot Patrol to walk you home (to request a walk call (613) 562-5800 x7433). If you ever have an emergency situation on campus, press one of the emergency buttons that are lit up and someone from Protection Services will come immediately or call Protection Services at 613-562-5411.
What tips and tricks do you use to get through your night classes? Let us know on Twitter @HCuOttawa!