A little daydreaming now and then isn’t so bad, but if you are fading out during class or when it’s time to study, you’ll wish you hadn’t when exam time rolls around. So how to focus in class when your mind starts to wander and your eyes are glazing over?
Read on for some tips for college students on ways to keep focused and alert no matter how long your professor is droning on about the periodic table or some 18th century poem.
Tips to stay alert in class
No matter how interesting you find a class, there will come a day when you simply can’t seem to focus. And how about when it’s a class you couldn’t care less about? Fuggedaboutit! A February 4, 2014, post on hackcollege.com, “How to Trick Your Mind into Paying Attention in Class,” offers some tips for college students when boredom strikes in class:
- Practice active listening. This is when you’re not only hearing the words being said, but you’re processing them and will be able to remember them.
- Take notes. Writing down the highlights of what’s being said will not only help you be an active listener, but should you forget something, it gives you a record for later.
- Sit up front. You don’t have to sit in the front row, but being near the front means the professor is more likely to see you and know your name. And this kind of attention may keep you from zoning out or, worse, falling asleep.
- Sit in the same seat. This may help trigger your memory, but don’t sit in the same seat for different classes or you may confuse something you learned in Math with something from Spanish!
- Participate in class. If you ask a question in class, you want it to be a good one, which means you have to focus. Voila!
Tips to focus out of class
What if you’re having a hard time keeping up with your day-to-day activities outside of class? If you need some help on how to focus in other areas of your life you may want to consider the advice offered by Breanna Locke in her November 6, 2012, GradGuard blog post, “5 Ways to Help College Students Stay Focused.” She recommends establishing a routine. So if you’ve noticed you’re more productive and focused in the library, make that your go-to study spot. Maybe you have more focus first thing in the morning in your room. Whatever works for you, use it to your advantage.
Locke also writes, “To stay focused, you have to be really sure of what it is that you want to get done.” She advises setting some realistic goals and focus on checking those off, one at a time. And when you do complete a task? Reward yourself! “Don’t go overboard by thinking up too many rewards for yourself, but do think of nice ways to give yourself a break after making good progress,” she recommends.