22 September 2016
Who hasn’t zoned out in class before? Whether your professor has a monotonous voice or you just didn’t get enough sleep last night, everyone has times when paying attention in class is a challenge.
Here are some things you can do when boredom overcomes you during a lecture:
Eat or Drink Something
Depending on your class rules, a quick blood sugar or caffeine boost can be exactly what you need. Just make sure it’s not distracting to the rest of the class such as eating something crunchy or something with an overpowering smell. A fruit salad or cereal bar can be ideal snacks for a classroom setting. Chewing gum can also help give you something to do while you’re passing the time. A cup of coffee is a great pick-me-up for any time of the day and could be just the boost you need to make you sit up and pay attention.
Record The Class
If you simply can’t pay attention to the lecture, try using a recording app on your phone to make sure you at least have the class on file. That way you can listen to it later when you’re able to concentrate better. Some recording apps also give a written version of the recording, which can be convenient for you to look over.
Take a Lot of Notes
Sometimes when the teacher is droning on and it’s hard for you to keep focused on what they’re saying, it can be helpful to just write down as much as you can from their lecture. Keep your pen moving as he/she speaks and try to capture as much as you can. This will give you something to concentrate on and keep from zoning out. It will also ensure that you have some enviable class notes that your classmates who fell asleep will want to borrow.
If your professor has class activities such as breaking you up into groups or allowing for question and answer periods, make sure you participate, even if you don’t feel like it. It can force you to wake up and engage more seriously with the material. Ask questions, offer to be a group leader or volunteer to take part in an informal debate.
Read Your Textbook
You might not be able to pay attention to what your professor is saying, but it could help if you look over your textbook to remind yourself of the context of their lecture. As you read, keep an ear tuned to your professor’s voice to see if what they’re saying connects with the content you’re reading to help you follow along better.
Everyone has days when their attention span is less than desired. You can’t be “on” all the time. If you find yourself spacing out in the middle of a lecture, give yourself a break and count to 100. Counting will likely be more boring than your teacher’s lesson so take a big breath after you get to 100 and prepare yourself to focus. Every time you space out again after that, count to ten and then get your focus back on track. This gives your brain a temporary break and allows you to reset.
Use Fun Note-Taking Tools
When you were a kid, you probably liked using crayons or colored pencils or funny erasers and notebooks with your favorite cartoon characters for school. So, make note-taking fun again by buying some cool accessories, whether it’s colored markers, fun stationary, or other things that ignite your excitement. You could also use a note-taking app on your tablet that makes it more entertaining for you to go to class.
Whatever you end up doing to get through class, just make sure you’re not interrupting your professor or being a distraction to your classmates.
image credit: flickr.com
Useful samples and examples: