I don’t have the numbers on me, BUT if you search “college/uni tips” I am sure you will find thousands, if not millions, of articles, blog posts, infographics, and books on:

  • getting up for early lectures
  • preparing for lectures
  • how best to take notes
  • what to do during lecture breaks
  • Et cetera

A lot of these tips worked for me in my first term of university when I couldn’t imagine there being anything more thrilling than a night in with lecture slides and a highlighter.

In the second term of my first year, though, I found my once sky-high enthusiasm waning.

My systems for getting up for 8:30AM classes, pre-processing lecture notes, note-taking in class, and making the most of lecture breaks were in place and, yet, I couldn’t engage with my lectures. This meant that I was spending more and more time outside of lecture doing the legwork to understand material.

An Upper-Year student suggested that I sit in the front row to stay focused.

There’s no way you’ll stare at the clock, fall asleep, or use your phone when you’re practically face-to-face with the lecturer. No way.


In fact, I fell asleep multiple times during lecture that term…from boredom…in front of my lecturers.

Listening to lectures was too passive, taking notes was engaging only when I was processing new material, and margin doodling was mind-numbing and, so, short-lived.

Now in my third year, I’ve found some ways to keep engaged when a lecture/lecturer (take your pic) can’t quite do so:

  • Ask questions! Not only will this compel you to pay attention to the lecturer, s(he) will appreciate your participation immensely!
  • Try the assigned questions! Attempting the problem sets assigned for after class during lecture may seem like wasted effort, but the earlier you expose yourself to testable content, the better prepared you are for exam day!
  • Snack…or chew gum.

Talk to yourself (in your head) about the lecture material…work and re-work the material in your head. I try to connect new material with previous knowledge. This will mimic the most efficient way to learn new material: teaching.

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