This entire school year has been a survival test of sorts. I don’t want to speak too soon and say it’s over, since a lot could happen in the two and a half weeks that are left. But at this point in the school year I have survived one hurricane, two tornado warnings, a brush fire at the landfill next door, a blizzard (where people don’t know how to respond to snow and ice), and four different kinds of car trouble, not to mention the regular challenges that come with classes and, dare I mention it? Finals.
For most students, finals are just around the corner—that swirling storm over the sea that you inevitably find yourself floating towards. While a guide to surviving finals might be more useful at this time, I found that there was more to be said about surviving a boring class. Survival techniques for finals are pretty simple: you either study, throw it all to the wind and party your last days away, or try and get what little sleep you can. Finals are taken once and then you’re done. Boring classes, however, last a whole semester. They are also unavoidable, unless you enjoy every subject in school and have engaging professors for every single class. But for most of us, boring classes are gonna happen, whether it be the subject, the professor, or heaven forbid, both. After “careful observation” of my classmates (and my own class habits), I made a little Surviving Boring Classes 101. Here are fifteen survival tips you can try for the next time you feel the drag of boredom begin to take hold in class.
- Facebook! This is a really popular one. Your life is obviously very boring right now since you’re sitting in this boring class, why not see what everyone else is up to? Thank goodness Facebook isn’t just a mobile site. Scrolling through all that news feed on your laptop is a great way to keep your mind occupied. Just make sure your laptop is on mute, because those videos have a nasty habit of playing all on their own and providing a nice little interruption in the professor’s lecture. It will also draw attention to yourself and may alert the professor that you are trying to stay focused instead of listening to him.
- Eat Chick-Fil-A. It’s almost always the case that you find yourself hungry in the middle of class. So why not stay a step ahead next time and order Chick-Fil-A? Not only will it keep you from being hungry in class, but it will provide a tasty distraction from your class. It will also save you time so you don’t have to eat later outside of class.
- Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. This is a key ingredient for the majority of students- that magical elixir that will keep you focused. Drinking lots of coffee in class will also provide you with the need to take many bathroom breaks, and these are nice little opportunities to leave class and stretch your legs.
- Fidget Cubes. These are new trendy little gizmos that allow those especially fidgety students to remain calm and attentive. I have found, however, that some of them make these repetitive clicking noises that tend to be a bit distracting.
- Headphones. I would not highly recommend the use of headphones in class, but it seems to be a popular form of surviving the boredom. Having a headphone bud in one ear allows you to listen to your favorite music or whatever little videos you watch on YouTube. For girls it’s a little easier, because they can hide the cord behind their hair, if it’s long enough. But guys can do it too. Your professor is obviously so engrossed in his lecture, he won’t notice the cord trailing from your ear to your device. Even when you have the volume as loud as you want and it seeps out of the headphone, your professor isn’t going to hear it. Why would he be paying attention to his students anyway?
- Snapchat! This one is a bit trickier, because it requires taking selfies in class. But if your laptop is big enough, you can hide your phone behind your screen and voila! You have a perfect disguise, even though your professor might notice you making dumb faces at your computer screen. Having a large class size also helps with this one.
- Do other homework. This is the perfect solution for those of us who are multitaskers. Rather than sit and listen to a lecture while all the things you have left to do swirl around in your head, this is a great opportunity to go ahead and finish some of those pesky papers. And while you’re at it, you might as well knock out some of those study guides, discussion board posts, and maybe even a quiz! You can also get ahead on some of the reading for other classes.
- Read a book! Speaking of reading, who says it has to be for school? One of my professors doesn’t allow laptops in class, so multitasking isn’t an option there, but thank goodness books aren’t all e-books yet. If you prop your notebook against the edge of your desk, it serves as the perfect shield for that novel you never have time to read. You have to be subtle about turning the pages, but it’s a great way to pass the time.
- All the little random things you never have time for otherwise. You know: emails, checking your bank account, going over your list of things to do, grocery lists, organizing your day-planner, all that good stuff. It’s the stuff you usually forget to do unless you’re bored, which is exactly why you remembered it all in the middle of class.
- Sleep. This is a very tricky one, but I’ve seen some students manage to pull it off. If you have a big enough backpack, you can hide behind it and/or use it as a pillow. This one is especially popular in the 8 a.m. classes. It’s also a great way to get back the hours of sleep you lost last night to watching the latest Netflix show.
- Drawing. This is one of the better options in my opinion because it can actually help some students stay focused. Doodling in your notes can help keep your mind on the page instead of wandering too far, unless the drawings get carried away. Many times what starts off as a simple sketch of a top hat turns into a host of Wonderland’s finest characters invading my notes. Doodles are very common in students’ notebooks, unless you’re an animation major, in which case they’re more like small masterpieces.
- Online Shopping. I see this one happening all the time. When bored, the mind has a habit of bringing up all the things you don’t have that you’ve been wanting for a while now. With online shopping becoming more and more accessible, the ability to go on a shopping spree in the middle of a class is perfectly feasible. Amazon.com seems to be everybody’s best friend.
- Text Your Friends. This is arguably the most popular form of surviving a boring class. Communicating with your friends is the easiest way to keep your mind off the subject at hand. Even in those 8 a.m. classes you can text your friends and roommates who are awake and suffering through their own morning classes. Those who aren’t awake you can text repetitively until they do wake up and keep you company. This is a very convenient option for those with a Mac, where iMessage is a function on the laptop. For those of you who do not have a Mac, you have two options. One is to hold your phone behind your laptop screen and text that way. But when you do this your elbows stick out, and your professor can guess what you’re up to. The second option is to text by hiding your phone in your lap. You have to be careful with your reactions though. If your friend sends you a funny emoji, you’ll have to keep a straight face or the professor will know something is up. No one just looks down at their crotch and smiles.
- Blog! Guilty as charged. I may have coincidentally started this in one of my less engaging classes. The idea came to me after the student sitting next to me had music coming out of his headphones, one girl was checking Facebook, one guy was shopping for hammocks online, one guy was sleeping, and another girl was playing solitaire. It seemed like a relevant topic.
- Take Notes and Listen. There’s always the option to actually listen to what the professor is saying and take notes. It might come in handy later on for an exam or something. But with all of the other more interesting options, this one is usually neglected. Besides, who pays attention in class these days anyway?
With all due respect,
(This article was sponsored by your daily dose of sarcasm)