Let’s start with the fact that “Sometimes You Can’t” pay full attention to lectures. Some of the responsibility has to lie with the professors. Your professors are being paid massive salaries and what you are getting for your money? A professor’s job is not to dole out information; you can get that from a book. A professor is supposed to be engaging and is supposed to make the subject matter come alive. Before you start looking inwards, maybe consider if your professor is to blame. This is especially a consideration if you have trouble paying attention to one particular professor’s lectures. If the blame lies with you, then here are a few ideas that may re-ignite your interest.
What Is Lecture Atrophy?
Have you ever been in a lecture and you are paying attention, and you are not distracted, but you somehow don’t hear or follow what the professor is saying. Similar things happen when you read, where you read a page, but when you get to the end you realize you didn’t take anything in. That is what we have playfully called “Lecture Atrophy”. It is almost as if your attention is there and your concentration is there, but the part of your brain that processes the information has wasted away temporarily.
Start By Creating Your Own Version Of Shorthand Or Bullet-Point Note Taking
It may not be you or your lecturer’s fault, you may be inadvertently boring yourself into a stupor because of the way you take notes. We have all seen the students at lecturers who come out with 6000 words of text that they have typed/written for notes. The process of writing notes may be what is pushing you towards lecture atrophy. Learn how to take shorter notes, bullet point notes, or notes in your personal style of short-hand. You can still understand them later, but to the outside observer you look like somebody trying to generate a text-version of outsider art.
Blog About The Content Of Your Lecture
Vow to write a blog post on everything you learn in every lecture. Good students make notes during lectures and then write them up later anyway, so you are just taking it to the next level. Writing a blog post about each lecture is going to force you to get the details right. It is also going to encourage you to dig a little deeper into the subject, as well as encouraging you to make sure you have it 100% accurate.
For some reason, when we teach things to others, we seem to learn it better ourselves–so take the project seriously. Act as if there are going to be knowledge-hungry people reading your blog posts. It is not miles away from the truth anyway; students in your classes may use your blog posts to catch up on what they have missed. It will certainly make your blog posts an important resource that your friends may thank you for.
Sit Closer To The Front
Glazed-over eyes are more noticeable to your professor when you sit near the front. It makes it more difficult for you to adopt a posture that suggests you are not listening. It makes you a little more self-aware and therefore makes it a little more difficult for you to lose focus. It is harder to drift away when you are right under your professor’s nose.
In addition, the act of straining to hear a professor is going to make you tired. Even if you don’t feel it, your brain is forced to pay extra attention to try to grab every word that your professor says, and that will wear you down eventually.
Conclusion – You Have Two Other Options
One option is to record videos of your professor doing his or her lecture so that you can review it later. You may be in a position where none of the ideas listed on this article work, (it happens to all of us). In which case, you can go over the video you recorded and examine what your professor said later in the day. You can even pause the lecture during the tricky bits and read through your textbooks to sure up your knowledge.
Another option is to simply quit your course and pick something else. The fact you are unable to pay attention may simply be your subconscious mind telling you that this particular qualification is not the one for you. You may worry that if you quit your course or switch your course, then you are not going to be able to do the career of your choice. However, have you considered that your chosen career will feature much more of the boring content that you are tired of hearing? It may be worth considering a complete change in career goals too.