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What Was I Thinking? Tips for Staying Focused in Class

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Ever walk into class and let the lectures simply flow in one ear and out the other? It doesn’t take much to let the mind wander during difficult, especially at 8 a.m. The professor always seems to begin with the lights off during a PowerPoint presentation and speaks in gibberish monotone. Staying focused is challenging. Students have a constant agenda of other things they need to do and some don’t even want to go to class but end up there anyway for the participation points and the one chance that there might actually be something they wouldn’t want to miss.

The addition of the Digital World classes also pose as another major threat to losing focus. There are a million other things that students could be doing right at their fingertips that may only take a few moments. Checking social media, receiving updates from Canvas and keeping up with news feeds are all possible temptations to rescue them from the one place they don’t want to be: the classroom. 

Tips to help stay focused:

  • Eat Breakfast.
    • The energy received from eating breakfast is more than enough to help sharpen your focus and prevent the mind from drifting back to sleep. Food will also stimulate positive responses and will automatically brighten up any day. 

      Remember to eat a good breakfast every morning. Photo courtesy of Aileen Wolk.
  • Take Notes in Different Colors.
    • A little distraction doesn’t hurt anyone. In the long run, by associating different colors with the notes, it connects the ideas conveyed. Colors are eye-catching and will help draw the mind back into the classroom and away from dreamland.

      Using different colors while taking notes is an excellent way to remember things. Photo courtesy of Aileen Wolk
      Using different colors while taking notes is an excellent way to stay engaged. Photo courtesy of Aileen Wolk.
  • Ask Questions.
    • Getting involved in the conversation is one way to stay engaged in the topics. If something isn’t clear, then ask about it. More often than not, there are other students struggling with the topic as well. It draws focus back to the subject. 

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      Ask questions to stay involved in class (even if they are a little outrageous). Photo courtesy of Aileen Wolk.
  • Get a Good Night of Sleep.
    • There’s no harm in hearing it again. Sleep is one of the best things for the mind. Getting enough sleep will relax the mind and enhance focus, two necessary factors if the topics are rather mind-boggling. In those situations, it helps to be as prepared as humanly possible to prevent major meltdowns. 

      There's no telling what one might miss during class if they're not paying attention. Photo courtesy of Aileen Wolk
      There’s no telling what one might miss during class if they’re not paying attention. Photo courtesy of Aileen Wolk.
  • Don’t Forget the Coffee.
    • Regular caffeine-drinkers shouldn’t venture too far from their usual levels of caffeine, so don’t forget to pick up a coffee at Kaldi’s or grab an energy drink on the way to class. Keep to routine on days that counts. Hyperactivity, crashes and withdrawals distract from the classroom setting and make it difficult to pay attention.

Need more advice on how to remain focused? Click here for study tips and guidelines to help concentration.

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