How To Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions In College

Ever have those days when paying attention just seems to be unmanageable?

Your eyes are slowly closing every few seconds, while the professor dims the lights even lower than you thought possible.  Or are the distractions around you making it hard to concentrate on the material at hand?  Knowing these specific tricks will help you make the right choices in class and outside of class for a better and easier experience.

Avoid Electronic Devices – Cell Phones and (Sometimes) Laptops

The majority of college students, if not all, can be seen walking throughout campus with a cell phone in hand.  Chances are you yourself have one, and the odds of putting it away for a full two hours are even less likely.  This could be one of the biggest mistakes you make for your college career.

Your phone can be like your life, all wrapped up into one tiny device.  I can chat with my family and friends, check my e-mail, surf the web, and even look at my current grades for all my classes.  However, if you do this during class do NOT expect to understand all the material.  You will miss a good majority of the lecture, and everything the professor was speaking about.

My advice: Leave your phone on silent and place it in your backpack until class is over with.

Another option that most students face is whether or not to bring their laptop to class so you’re able to type the notes.  Some professors have a way of speaking very fast.  This can be damaging to your learning process.  For this reason alone I decided my second quarter at UC Davis to start bring my laptop to class with me.

However, this does NOT mean it’s a free pass to look online at Facebook or your Twitter accounts.  Many students must face the temptation to surf the Internet and turn it down.  I can promise you that a two-hour class period will quickly fly by if you give in to distractions and ignore what the professor is trying to teach you.

This goes for others around you that are using their computers for non-lecture related material.  If you notice students around you surfing the web or listening to music try your best to not get pulled in.  You can’t limit another person’s computer capabilities, but you can figure out ways to not have to be exactly around it.  If you notice certain people surfing the web and congregating to specific seats I would recommend staying clear of that area.  Try to find a seat where you can feel free to learn without anyone else distracting you.

Be Attentive

There are ways of avoiding distractions and sleepy mornings all together.  Each night make an attempt to get a good night’s sleep.  There will be those late night study sessions, but try to get eight hours a night.  It’ll make it that much easier to stay awake and retain the information presented.  Also, eat a healthy meal before leaving in the morning.  This will give you the energy you need to make it through the day.

Another option I would highly recommend is sitting as close to the front row as you feel comfortable.  It will deter you from feeling that urge to fall asleep in class if you know the professor is standing only a few feet away.

Pay attention to what is on the screen as well as what your professor is saying.  Try to write down or type what’s on the slideshow AND listen to what’s being said.  One way to accomplish this is to view the slideshow before class.  Some professor’s are kind enough to post them online for viewing beforehand.  This way you can get the notes earlier and then add anything important during class.  This will ease your stress of constantly having to write or type every minute of class.

Just remember to not let yourself or others become a distraction.  It will hinder your ability to grasp the information you’re trying to learn.  If you give in to temptation either by your cell phone, computer, or just sleeping during lecture those long two-hour classes will seem to end without you knowing any of the material presented.

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Kali White

Kali White

Kali White is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a degree in Communications and a minor in Sociology. Her goal is to have a career working for a publication company writing and editing. In her free time she enjoys the outdoors, reading, playing and listening to music, and travelling.