Take it from me, your first-year of university can be challenging; you often have to move to a new city, make new friends and on top of all these life changes you have to get accustomed to a new style of learning. One of the most intimidating parts of higher education is large lectures. Coming from Sixth Form where there were likely 20 people and going to a lecture with over 200 students is hard and actual staying focused in those lectures is even harder. This is precisely why I have decided to share my tips to help you get the most out of your lectures!
By far the hardest part of big lectures is having the motivation and self-discipline to make yourself go in the first place. Hey I get, no one wants to go to a 9am after staying up late and it is especially hard to go when you know that no one will notice your absence. However, reading the slides instead of actually going to class doesn’t allow you to learn as well as actually being in the lecture. Also going to the lecture actually saves you time and effort, you learn twice as much in an hour lecture as you would spending an hour copying slides and reading the textbook because you don’t understand what is going on. My point is GO TO THE LECTURE.
Sit Closer to the Front
Now I know you probably won’t want to sit in the very first row because its scarier but sitting someone in the closest 5 rows will make it easier to pay attention. When you sit at the back you have hundreds of other students in front of you who can distract you but if you’re near the front then the only thing ahead of you is the professor. Additionally, from this close, the professor can see if you are distracted and I’m normally too scared to pull out my phone or talk to a friend when the professor is literally right there — guaranteeing my attention.
Pick the Right Friends
Adding to the last point, picking the right friends to sit beside if any at all is crucial. Some friends while very fun and nice are just not great to sit next to. We all have those friends with whom we cannot focus in class no matter what. So pick friends who you like but who also want to pay attention in class and that will make it easier to stay focused.
Write With Pen and Paper If Possible
Using a laptop, while speedy, only leads to even more distractions. When you have a laptop in front of you it is easier for your mind to wander off and soon enough you will find yourself googling something random or on Facebook messaging your friends. On top of this, writing in pen actually makes you remember things better especially if it’s in blue ink (I don’t know why this is true but it is). If for some reason you’re determined to use technology try using an Ipad or laptop where you can still use s stylist to take notes and then use an app to block off other sites.
In the end, you only get out of university what you put into it. The more effort you put into your learning the more you will learn. While large lectures seem scary at first, you will easily adjust to them and will likely learn to love.