January 29, 2017

A Student's Guide to Surviving Long Lecture Classes

Let’s all give a round of applause to the genius who thought three-hour lectures were a good idea.

My first ever lecture class in college was surprisingly quite interesting. I actually looked forward to the class and barely noticed how long it was. I thought “this isn’t bad at all. I don’t know what all the fuss is about.” Turns out, I spoke too fast. The next semester I had to take another lecture class and this time I did understand what the fuss was about.

I was fine the first hour and half of class, but shortly after I was googling “50 ways to stay awake.” I had been so busy trying to keep myself from falling asleep, that I barely paid attention to the lecture. Luckily, I eventually got it together and learned some ways to stay alert and pay attention.

If you’re currently in the same boat as I was, here are a couple thing you can do to successfully get through your obviously long lecture class.

Treasure whatever break time you are given
Do you want to know what my favorite phrase is?  It’s “Alright guys let’s take a 15-minute break” You don’t have to tell twice! I would fly out of my chair before my professor even finished that sentence. Take advantage of this time to recharge your energy as much as you can. You can go on a little walk around your school to get your blood flowing and increase your alertness.  Don’t stay in your seat during break! You’ve been sitting down for so long that your legs probably fell asleep and your butt definitely has to hurt by now. Get up, stretch, let your legs feel alive again.

Dress comfortably
If you ever needed a reason to wear leggings pretty much all the time, this is it. Getting through a 2 to 3-hour class is already hard enough, so why make it worst by dressing uncomfortably? Do yourself a favor and try not to wear your super tight skinny jeans to your class. I don’t know about you, but I’m already not in love with the idea of sitting on those cold hard chairs for hours and I wouldn’t want to induce my misery with clothes I can barely breathe in.

Don't look at the clock
I’m so guilty of this. About an hour into class, I start looking at the clock every 5 minutes and I swear the numbers do not move. It’s like I check the time and it’s 2:45pm and 10 minutes later I’m checking again, and it’s still 2:45pm! Obviously, that’s not true, but it sure feels like it when you constantly look at the clock.

Have healthy snacks
No one wants likes to learn on an empty stomach. Make you bring snacks to munch on while you’re in class. Quiet snacks to be precise. It’s very distracting not only to your professor but also to your fellow classmates to have to hear you crunch on chips or whatever.

Find a front row sit
Sitting front row eliminates the distractions that you might otherwise have while sitting further back. If you’re sitting a few rows behind, your attention is more likely to get caught up in whatever students in front of you might be doing. Before you realize it, you’ve spent close to 20 minutes staring at another student playing chess on their laptop.
Also, if you’re sitting in front of the class, it is much harder not to pay attention. You are obviously not going to freely go on Instagram or fall asleep if your professor is standing right in front of you. At least I hope you won’t.

Ask questions
Asking questions is great way to stay engaged so you don’t dose off. In order to ask questions, you actually have to know what’s going on. Professors love when students ask questions because it shows that you’re paying attention to the lecture. Asking questions might even prompt more students to join the conversation and make the lecture more interesting

Prepare in advance and take notes during class
Try to review the chapters you will be covering in class the night before. Since you’re going to be learning something new, having an idea of what the material is about might make things easier to understand. This will also give you the opportunity to write down questions you can your professor in class.

If you’re too busy taking notes, you probably won’t be as bored as a student who is just staring at the professor. As you write your notes, get a little creative. Meaning, make them stand out. Use different color pens or draw examples for the more important concepts. Doing this will make it easier to study revise and remember your notes later on. Even if you’re not one to usually take notes, doing so will distract you from noticing how long the class is.

Don’t bring your laptop to class or use your phone
Before browsing through Facebook, remember you’re going to have to take exams about the stuff you’re not paying attention to. Also, you don’t want to get in the habit of going on your phone or laptop whenever you’re bored. There are going to be instances outside of school where you’re also bored, let’s say work, and it wouldn’t be wise to break out your phone while your colleagues are in a meeting. As tempting as it will be to go on your phone or laptop, keep them out of sight and try as hard as you can to pay attention.

Most importantly, go to your class with a good attitude. Yeah, the class may be boring and whatnot, but will complaining actually make things better? I would argue not. Au contraire, constant complains might even make you dislike your class more than before. Your best chance is to try to find ways to still get the most out of your class even if it’s as boring as boring gets.

What lecture class are you currently taking?


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  1. I love all of the tips you gave to stay focused! I am such a bad person in long lectures. I used to always be on my phone or doing homework for another class. I am slightly better now but I record the lectures so that I can slow or speed up the video to fit my needs.

    I am also a college blogger over at www.uniquelymickie.com

  2. Long lectures are the worst, and I always seem to find myself looking at the clock and my phone. Time seems to go by so slow this way. That's when I just mentally block out the clock and put my phone away which keeps me more focused anyways. Really great tips! Pinned!


    1. haha i used to do that too and it was pure torture feeling like the clock never moved!
      Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it!