Surviving a Boring Lecture

Everyone has been in one of it. The problem occurs, when you perceive every lecture as one.

Scare yourself straight. “If I don’t pay attention to this lesson and remember every single sentence the teacher says I’ll never get into college. If I don’t get into college, I’m never going to earn my degree. I’ll end up 35 years old, still living with my parents and no hopes of getting my own house and family. No one will respect or dare depend on me for advice or anything. Say those words to yourself, share yourself that way and you will pay attention.

Even A students get bored at times by lectures.  What is the difference between the A student and the C student?  Their approach to the lecture.  Don’t let “boring” become an excuse for not showing up to class.  Dive right in, sit near the front, buy a coffee, and simply face the fact that you will be less than entertained for a couple of hours.  Get in the mental game and you will survive.

Note Focus Since the teacher is boring, you need to find something you can make interesting. While I usually don’t recommend note taking unless the student really enjoys the process, this is a time when note taking can be a huge advantage.

When you take notes, you give your brain an explicit purpose in listening to the teacher speak. If you’re not writing something down on your sheet of paper then you instantly know you’re probably not paying enough attention. While you shouldn’t try to get down every word the teacher says, if keeping up with the teacher is an absolute breeze then continue trying to write down more. This process forces you to focus on the teacher despite the lecture being boring. It gives you a clear and measurable objective when it comes to focus. If at the end of the class, you have no notes written down then you definitely failed. If you have pages of notes written down then, whether you enjoyed it or not, you at least focused a little through the lecture.

The Subject – Not The Speaker  Make sure you’re focusing on the subject of the boring lecture instead of the speaker. Focusing on a person that talks too slow or speaks in a monotone voice can be downright painful. If you want to put up with it then it’s usually best to focus as much of your energy on the subject as you can. Don’t try to hear the teacher’s enthusiasm. Don’t listen to emotional content. Listen as if the teacher is just a computer reading off something. Listen mechanically instead of emotionally.

This is a process of distancing yourself from your own emotions. Do everything you can to keep all your emotional energy on your own representation of the information you’re being told. By focusing on that you can limit your distraction and boredom during the worst of it.

Absolutely read the material before class.  If you are unfamiliar with the course material then it will only magnify the boredom.  Not reading would be like signing up for a book club, going to the gathering but never bothering to open the book. How boring!  Be sure to prepare and stay in the loop.  When you are reading the material create possible questions to ask in class (if the professor takes questions).  Participating in class speeds up time for you.  And, you never know, your question could prompt others to speak up and the class could take an intriguing turn.  Dare I suggest, you might enjoy the class then.

Do not take out your phone to answer, chat or read emails.  Again, this will make the boredom worse.  You are essentially running away from the problem by turning to the cell phone rather than confronting the issue head on.  This is a C student response.  Moreover, it is a bad habit.  After college, you might find yourself in other boring situations like work meetings.  It is not a good (or beneficial) idea to tune out and gravitate to your phone while others are talking.  Indeed, there will be times when your good friends bore you!  Would you take out your phone while they talk?  Of course not.  For class time, strengthen your concentration abilities and keep the phone in your bag.

Through The Motions If you’re absolutely desperate to focus then eventually, it’s best to focus on going through the motions. If you learn to go through the motions of focusing then you’ll eventually start actually focusing on the subject. It’s virtually automatic. If you can’t force yourself to focus mentally than just forcing yourself to go through the motions will be able to get you most of the way there. When you go through the motions you’re giving your brain the signals that you’re trying to focus on the subject. Most of the time, your brain follows the motions you put your physical body through

 

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-tina von s

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5 Comments

  1. I agree! I find that when I sit in front, focus and take notes (I’m a notes taker), the subject ceases to be boring. The only time I couldn’t do this was during a programming class when the lecturer was following the step-by-step guide in the book, which I finished faster than most people and had to wait… 😅

    1. This is usually the case with me. I am in uni and our professors use their own books, which results in having lectures the same as reading out the book. I usually read it before so mid class I am basically waiting for the professor to say something new that isn’t already in the book 🙂

  2. Haha this reminds me of what I did in college. I was bored and sleep and ita hard to control it, so i courageous ask my professor to allow me to sleep and rest. Surprisingly he agreed! But in return he gave be books to read and i created a book report. DEAL!

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