How to stay focused in class

How many times have you noticed your mind wandering elsewhere in class, or caught yourself doing the ‘head bob’ as you start to doze off? It seems like we’ve almost all been there at some point. Yet, I cannot emphasize how important it is to be able to focus and comprehend what’s going on when you are in class. I mean, to be honest, if you can’t focus in class, there really is not much of a point to even being there at all. That’s why I really want to give you some advice on how to stay focused and get the most out of your time in classes.

Since most of the reasoning for why we are unable to focus in class stems from lack of sleep or exhaustion from other factors such as sport’s practices, I will be addressing the ability to focus with these factors in mind. So here are some pointers for when you find yourself daydreaming (a sure sign that you are tired) in class or losing your ability to concentrate.

Sleep. First off, and as I’m sure you already know, try your absolute hardest to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep. Keep in mind that individually you may need slightly less or slightly more hours of sleep, but in general getting close to this amount of sleep will be highly beneficial for you. Since late nights that prevent getting some much needed sleep are near unavoidable within your time at college, here are additional steps you can take to stay focused in class.

Posture. Look at how you are sitting when you are in class. Are you leaning far back in your chair? Are you resting your arm on the table with your chin in your hand? These are positions that make you prone to fall asleep easily.  Try to sit upright with a straight back in your chair-trust me, it really makes a huge difference!

Clothing. As odd as it might seem, what you wear can also have a big impact. Maybe you’ve heard before the phrase, ‘look good, feel good’. Well it’s surprisingly true. Therefore, if you are coming to class in sweatpants and hoodies everyday, it’s almost as if you are preparing for a nice, comfortable nap. Try to put a little extra effort into picking out some nicer clothing. I’m not talking about dressing up everyday, but just simply wearing some jeans and a  nice t-shirt can really be quite a step up and in the long run, improve your ability to stay focused in class.

Water. Many people rely on drinks high in caffeine to get them through their classes. However, and as a nutrition major, I’d really like to highlight how important drinking water really is. Most of us know that we should drink about 64 ounces of water a day, but yet fail to do so. But perhaps you should consider trying. Why?  One important reason that you already know is because not drinking enough water everyday leads to dehydration. When we are dehydrated, we begin to feel fatigue, dizziness, and etc. Thus, we lose out ability to concentrate. Consuming a lot of caffeinated drinks can actually lead to dehydration. If you notice you are thirsty, then you are already dehydrated. So drink that water!

Snacks. Some of your classes might land at an odd spot in your schedule, such as around one of your meal times. Perhaps they just expand the amount of time you have between meals. That is why it is important to make sure you have snacks on hand. Everyone knows it is near impossible to focus when all they can think about is food or the fact that their stomach is growling so loud they’re sure every person in the room must hear it. Luckily, the Kindlon cafe is a great place to stop by and grab a snack on the way to class, and most professors, unless you are in a lab, have no problem with students eating in class.


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