Do This, Not That: Use Your Class Time Wisely

One of the most difficult transitions from high school to college is forcing yourself to attend class regularly. Many college classes don’t take attendance, so it’s up to you to stay on top of going and keeping up with the workload. Getting your butt out of bed for an 8 a.m. class is never an ideal way to start the day, but that’s only the first hurdle. The next challenge is properly utilizing time while you’re there—get the most from what you’re paying because those classes aren’t cheap!

Don’t show up late. Not only is it disrupting for the class and professor, but constantly being tardy can hinder your grade. Most professors have a policy that if you’re late a certain number of times, any more tardies after that results in points deducted from your overall grade. Is hitting the snooze button a couple extra times really worth the GPA damage?

Sit towards the front. Growing up, the students that sat in the front of the room usually got labeled as nerds or teacher’s pet. Luckily, these stereotypes don’t carry over into college. There are numerous benefits to sitting close, such as being able to see the screen better. I’ve had lecture halls range anywhere from 50 to 600 people, and the bigger they get the closer you’ll want to sit. Sitting near the professor also makes it less tempting to leave early since students typically won’t if they can easily be seen.

Sit by strangers. Remember when your parents said to never talk to strangers? Well, disregard that advice while attending class. Sitting next to people you don’t know is a chance to make new friends, which is crucial in classes for your major. With the more people you connect with in your field, comes more opportunities to learn, excel and network. This is also a way to find study buddies or people to team up with on group projects.

Get to know professors. This might seem like an impossible task if you attend a large university (as I do!), but strive to make a good impression on all instructors. Face-to-face interaction is important, so clarify questions with the professor before class, after class, or during office hours. Consistently pay attention and participate in discussions during smaller classes, as the professor has the ability to pay closer attention to students. Instructors usually have been in the field for many years and have prime connections to possible future employers, so use this chance to network. This is also a great way to gain references for recommendation letters.

Detach from your computer. Wait…isn’t what makes college way cooler than high school is being able to bring laptops to class? The answer to this is yes and no. Yes, sometimes it’s inevitable—especially since typing is much quicker than hand writing notes—but Internet access brings a wave of distractions during a time when full attention is required. Although I’m addicted to social media, I’ve found that my grades increased dramatically when I stopped bringing my computer to class. You can be the best multi-tasker in the world, but when Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are sitting on your lap, everything else becomes nonexistent.

These tips are probably everything you didn’t want to hear when coming to college, but it’s easy to get excited about all this new freedom. Slacking the first year will only put you behind, so what do you really have to lose by following these helpful hints?

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Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson is a junior at Michigan State University working towards her journalism degree with a specialization in documentary film. She designs and writes for a campus magazine and is a server at Bob Evans. When Jordyn has free time she likes to watch movies and her favorite show Breaking Bad, spend hours on tumblr, go on adventures with friends and travel.
Jordyn Timpson

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