Keeping Focused While In Class

So we’ve all had those moments. You know the ones. You stare up at the clock and only thirty seconds has passed since the last time you checked. Yep we have all been there. Our minds start to wander and soon we’re checking our phones, on 9GaG, doodling on the side of our notes…it happens, but how do we bring focus back to our studies.

Speaking as a master procrastinator I know first hand how hard it is to bring focus back to the work you need to do when you are bored of it. Final assignment deadlines for the summer semester are approaching and without a solid plan for how you’re going to get the work done you may find yourself in over your head. So here are a few tips that may help you.

1. Make a Plan: I know it’s kind of self-explanatory but with a defined plan you can easily determine when you’ve stepped off your timeline for assignments. The first option is to write all assignment deadlines into your phone calender and set reminders for the week before. Since our phones are usually always close by you can’t dismiss it as you simply didn’t see the reminder. Secondly, an old fashion twelve-month calender posted in your room can give you a visual cue for approaching deadlines, especially if you have multiple classes. For example, I have two classes in the same day but three assignments due that day as of next week. If I left those assignments to the last minute I might only get one finished. That would be bad planning…so to the calender mobile.

2. Plan for the boredom: I’ve already confessed to being a master procrastinator, and it’s completely true. There are times when I get so engrossed in a book, t.v series, or physical activity that I lose track of time and forget about the twenty page report that’s due the next day (now if I’ve waited that long I’m definitely in trouble). Sometimes you just get so bored with the assignment you’re doing that it’s easier to give your attention to those funny videos on YouTube, so what do you do? You schedule in your estimated procrastination time. It may sound ridiculous but if I estimate that I’m going to spend three hours playing video games then I can better determine the remaining time I have to work on that all important assignment.

3. Find a strategy: Certain people learn better in different ways. If that person behind you in class is always on Tumbler it may be because (a) they already know the material, (b) they don’t care, (c) they’ll learn it later, or (d) they’re certified geniuses. I know I can’t physically write notes in class and still pay attention. I can type them, but not write them…it’s a weird quirk I know, so I listen while a professor is lecturing then type my notes later, or I’ll pre-type my notes if the lectures are posted. So find whatever method works best for you. Some people like to record lectures, others ask permission to video record; all methods work, but not all methods work for everyone.

4. Ask for a break: I’m an active person, so sitting for three hours is torture. If you have a teacher who lectures for three hours straight, you’re probably asleep after the first hour. Try asking your professor if they’ll let the class take a ten minute break at the hour marks…once, twice, you pick just take the chance and ask or you’ll be stuck in that uncomfortable chair for a long time.

5. Be interested: Some things are just plain dull. It happens, however if you know a course is going to bore you find something interesting within the material and keep reminding yourself of how you could apply it in a future job. The most miniscule of things can be interesting if you figure out what it might mean to you.

Check in next week for more tips and tricks.

Kelly Skidmore


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