What not to do in class

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By Annabeth Carlson

I’m just going to start this article with a disclaimer: I am guilty of doing all of the following things in class. But it is a new school year and I am hoping to start fresh and get the most out of lectures. As a junior in college, however, I know it may be hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I am going to try my best. If you are an underclassman, this advice could be especially helpful in helping you form successful classroom habits!

1. Stay off your phone

This is by far the most important tip I could give you. It is great being away from strict high school teachers that don’t allow you to use your phone in class, but I’ve now learned they had good intentions. What often starts as just checking the time or using your phone’s calculator during a lecture often turns into a 30-minute Instagram-stalking session or creating an elaborate Snapchat story masterpiece. Next thing you know, class is over and you forgot to take notes. This year, I am going to put my phone on airplane mode in class, so I can still use helpful features like the time, calendar, calculator, etc. without getting distracted.

2. Same goes for your laptop

I love taking notes on my laptop. I am much faster at typing on my computer than writing in a notebook. Plus, there are great organizational and note-taking tools available on laptops. But just like cellphones, computers can be extremely distracting. I will often find myself checking emails, doing homework for other classes or Pinteresting away. To fix this, don’t turn on the WiFi. You will still be able to take efficient notes, without the temptations that the Internet brings.

3. Don’t sit in the back

It can be intimidating to sit in the front of classrooms or huge lecture halls, especially when you are a freshman. I remember being so nervous that a teacher would ask me a question I was not prepared for. However, sitting in the back contributes to distracting behaviors like playing on your phone or laptop since you are further away from the teacher. I’ve also noticed that people have more conversations in the back, leading to my own eavesdropping. You don’t have to be a teacher’s pet and sit in the very first row, but aim to sit closer to the front if you want to get the most out of your classes. And assuming I take my own advice, you will find me there as well!

4. Be careful with whom you sit

Everyone loves to sit with friends in class. I often plan my schedule with my friends so we can walk and sit together in lectures. But be cautious because friends can be just as distracting as your technology and geography in the classroom. I know my friends and I are always tempted to talk about what we did the night before, what we are having for lunch that day and really anything not related to class. This will probably be the hardest habit for me to break. If you find yourself in this situation, tell your friends to wait to have other conversations after class, or take the advice from number three and sit toward the front together. You will be less inclined to talk to each other when you are closer to the teacher.

Annabeth is a junior in Media. 

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