How to make the most of big lectures

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  • Assistant LAS Dean Junlian Parrot introduces incoming freshmen to the graduation requirements of the college of LAS in the Gregory Hall Theater on July 7. The room is used for large lecture classes during the year. Empty seats are hard to find in the thea Beck Diefenbach

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By Abigale Svoboda

At a school with 40,000 students, everyone is bound to have a big lecture at some point in their college career. Whether you’re taking STAT 100 in Lincoln Hall or your major’s first intro-level class, make sure it is as impactful as possible.

Sit near the front

On my first day of ECON 102 in Foellinger Auditorium, I arrived way too early and sat in the second level balcony. I thought it was a good spot, somewhere I could sit every Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the semester. 

The second day of class I arrived late, per my usual style, and my favorite balcony was full. My only choice was to — somewhat timidly — walk to the front of the auditorium and sit in the second row. I was a little peeved until I realized how much more I paid attention. 

Sitting in the front also made the class of 1,000 students feel a little smaller and less intimidating. Plus, the professor will start to notice you and appreciate your attentiveness. Brownie points, anyone?

Stay off the Internet

I used to take notes by hand and loved it, but eventually I realized it just makes more sense to type them on my laptop. The convenience is excellent but the temptation to check Facebook or iMessage friends can compromise your attention to class. 

Staying off the Internet in class and using your laptop strictly for notes will benefit you in the long run. If you’re really tempted, just completely disconnect your computer from the Internet until you’re out of class.

Keep your phone in your bag

Similarly, don’t spend class on your phone. Aside from the huge distraction it is, being on your phone during class is rude. Even if you spend the whole fifty minutes daydreaming, at least your professor can’t see how much you aren’t paying attention.

Introduce yourself to the professor

This can be intimidating, but it’s worth it. It takes two seconds after class and your professor will appreciate it. Then when you need help or want to contest a grade, they already know you and may be more inclined to help you.

Go to office hours

Even if you don’t have a question. Make one up if you have to, but go in at least once every two weeks. In high school, my dad always urged me to spend time after school asking my teachers questions.

I thought by being a high school senior I already knew everything, but I definitely did not. And I definitely did not understand why I would waste everyone’s time asking a question I could find the answer to on the Internet. 

When I got to college though, I realized my dad’s advice was less about having a question answered and more focused on building relationships with my teachers. Chances are you actually will have a few questions throughout the semester, but you’ll also get to know your professors better, which can provide you with a world of opportunity.

Find your classes on Study Room

This website is virtually Facebook for school. You can ask and answer questions and post study guides and class notes. You’ll be surprised how helpful your fellow classmates can be and it definitely comes in handy when you’re in a pinch.

Abigale is a junior in LAS.
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