High school students today have a lot of responsibilities between school, part-time jobs, extra-curricular activities and maintaining a social life. Trying to prepare for college by balancing these facets of their lives can be exhausting and overwhelming at times. After a while, students get burned out and may find themselves slipping in their classes because they are too worn down to fully pay attention. Seniors especially may struggle to pay attention because they are experiencing feelings of “senioritis” and have trouble staying motivated. If you or your high school student can relate to these situations, read these ways to stay alert and focused during class.
Paying attention in morning classes is hard enough to do when you’re tired, let alone hungry. You may think that you can hold out until lunch, but will likely start to zone out once your stomach starts growling around 10:30 am. Whether it be a bowl of cereal, eggs, toast, or even just a banana and granola bar, eat something to give yourself energy for the day. Rather than thinking about your stomach, you’ll be able to think about what you are doing in class.
Avoid Sitting by Your Friends
Some teachers may allow you to sit wherever you want while others have assigned seats. If you find that you do have the choice, avoid sitting next to people you that you know you will talk to and joke around with. This can be hard to do if your friends want you to sit by them, but let them know that you need to concentrate and that it would be best for you to separate yourself. If your seat is assigned next to someone who distracts you, ask your teacher after class if it is possible to switch seats.
Write Down Notes and Ask Questions
Paying attention to what the teacher is saying and taking down notes can help you pay attention and stay engaged with the material. If you have the choice between writing down your notes and typing them on a computer, it is recommended that you opt for pencil and paper to help you remember the information more effectively. In addition to taking down notes, it is important to actively think about the concepts and ask questions when appropriate. If you don’t understand something, simply writing down the information will not make much of a difference. Either raise your hand and ask the question in class or make a note to yourself to ask your teacher later. By writing down notes and asking questions when you don’t understand something, you will be able to stay more engaged and experience less distraction. Plus, you’ll learn more and likely get a better grade in the class.
Turn Your Phone Off
Everyone knows how distracting cell phones can be having texting, social media, and games at your fingertips. A sure fire way to distract yourself during class is to have your phone out the entire time talking to your friends and scrolling through Twitter. Sometimes simply putting your phone away in your backpack isn’t enough to stop you from checking it periodically. To combat this issue, either leave your phone in your locker or shut it off completely. This way, you will be less tempted to pull it out of your bag when you should be paying attention and taking notes.
Don’t Use Your Laptop Unless Necessary
Many high schools today have laptops available to students to use for schoolwork. If you do use your school issued laptop for research, note taking or accessing class material, then that is fine. However, it can be difficult to avoid social media, online shopping and watching YouTube videos when you’re supposed to be online doing work. While most schools who offer laptops do block sites like Facebook, students can often find other things to do online or even crack the network password. If you do have access to social media and other distracting sites, either block them yourself or simply don’t use your laptop unless absolutely necessary. As previously mentioned, if you find that taking notes on your laptop leads to distractions or difficulty retaining information, it may be a better option to write your note with pen and paper.
Grades Still Matter
Once the applications are sent and the acceptance letters start to come in, some students think the latter half of their senior year doesn’t matter. You’re in, so why bother putting in the extra effort into studying and homework? Well, because college can rescind their invitation if your grades slip too much. That’s right, you can be rejected after already being accepted. Not to mention other things are dependent on your GPA besides college acceptance, like: federal financial aid, scholarships, and more. Do yourself a favor and don’t treat the spring semester like an early summer vacation—finish out the school year strong!
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