Every professor always says it: “A big portion of your exam will be based off of lectures!”
I hate lectures. More than anything. All of my classes this semester involve lecturing, and it is so hard for me to make myself focus on what the professor is saying. I get bored, hungry (especially in my three hour class that starts at 6pm), tired, impatient and my butt goes numb.
This semester, I have developed a few ways to at least try to keep focused during the lectures, because lectures are really important, and they can honestly be pretty interesting if you let them be. Here are a few tips on how to make yourself listen during lectures, or at least how to get the gist of the topic in which your professor is speaking:
Print out the syllabus.
Printing out the syllabus allows you to know what is due and when it is due. It also usually tells what chapters will be covered on what days, so that you know when to read a chapter before class (not that you will).
Print out the powerpoint slides the day before the lecture.
Most professors post the powerpoint slides online a few days before class. Printing these out will drastically help you out – way more than you think that it will. I always try to print out the powerpoint slides so that I can take them to the lecture and write notes on the paper. This also allows you to glance over the information that your professor will be discussing, so that if you do happen to doze off into La La Land, you will be able to pick right back up where you left off without having to lean over to the person next to you asking for the notes.
As cheesy as it sounds, participate in class discussions and online discussions. I literally despise this more than anything. Class participation is annoying, and it makes me feel like no one cares about my opinion. In reality, however, people do actually care about your personal opinion, especially your professor! I have realized this over the course of the beginning of this semester. And if you participate, it can make the discussion a little more interesting.
Turn your phone off.
I have a serious problem with this. I must honestly say that I have spent a couple of the past lectures playing Flappy Bird and blowing up everyone’s timelines on Twitter. If you turn your phone off and/or leave it in your car, you won’t be tempted to pick it up and play games or check Twitter/IG/Facebook.
Don’t bring your laptop to class.
You are not going to take notes. You are going to work on your resume, apply for part-time jobs in the area, work on homework for other classes, and download the Frozen soundtrack on iTunes (guilty). No matter how much you convince yourself that you are going to take notes, you will probably wind up on Facebook. If you feel as though you must take your laptop to class, sit in the front or second row. This will keep you from checking social media and your email because you don’t want anyone behind you in the class to know your business.
Make your notes pretty.
I don’t mean draw 300 flowers or write quotes from your favorite books and or Disney movie (Frozen – guilty). I mean use different color ink. I like to use a pink pen and a black pen while taking notes. The pink pen is for important things: dates, important people, important publications, due dates, etc. The black ink is for basic information. This will especially help while studying.
If you get tired, get up.
If your butt starts to go numb, and you’re sitting near the door (or where it won’t cause a ruckus for you to get up), step out of the room for a second. Walk down the hall and grab a drink of water, or take a quick bathroom break. Make sure you are not being rude – getting up during a classmate’s speech or a professor’s urgent lecture. The best time to get up is when a video is being shown.
Keep a snack in your backpack.
Preferably one that is not noisy. Potato chips are not a classroom favorite. Something along the lines of peanuts, goldfish, etc. will do swimmingly, and then you will not be starving. If eating something will direct your focus, go for it, but if it will deter your attention, or even a classmate’s, don’t eat anything. Wait until a break or after class.
Hopefully you can use these tips to your advantage and will be able to better focus yourself for lectures!