Going to class can be a drag and it’s easy to zone out and miss the whole lecture. But even still, going to class is a crucially important part of succeeding in college classes – it’s where you can get clarification on class readings, dive deeper into the material, participate in discussions, and get your professor’s insights.
I’ve come up with a few pointers that will help you to be more alert, attentive, and engaged in class so that you can make the most of every class!
Bring your book(s).
Make sure you bring whatever book(s) you’re working on in a particular class. Whether it’s a novel (English majors represent) or a textbook, don’t forget it at home! Follow along whenever your professor references a certain page, and underline or bookmark any passages read aloud or discussed in class. Doing this will not only keep you engaged in class, it’ll help you study for exams down the road.
I’m a firm believer that note-taking is essential, because it forces you to pay attention to the lecture or discussion. Write down everything the professor puts on the board, any definitions, and any other important facts or details. Develop a system of note-taking that works for you (whether that’s handwriting or typing, bullet points or paragraphs, etc) and use it every class.
Come to class fed so that you’re not starving all through class and so that you have more energy. This is especially important if your class is just before or during a meal time. Do yourself a favor and ensure that your stomach will be full and happy. Then you’ll not only be more energized, your mind will also be better able to receive and process information during class.
Make sure you’ve had enough water in your day leading up to class, and also bring a water bottle with you to class. Being hydrated will keep your energy levels up and prevent you from feeling sluggish so you’ll be more alert in class.
Put your phone away.
Many professors have a rule against phones in class anyways, but I’m still throwing this one in here because playing with your phone under the table is a real problem. Nothing will take your mind off of what’s going on in class more than your phone. Make sure it’s on silent and either put it out in front of you on the desk (where it’s in plain sight) or keep it in your bag.
Ask questions, answer questions, offer comments! Or if you’re like me and aren’t always comfortable talking in class, that’s totally okay, as long as you silently participate. Either way, just participate and be present. Actively take notes and follow along in the book. Always keep yours eyes either on the professor/the board, or the book/your notes. Participating in these ways is a surefire way to keep yourself engaged.
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