3 Simple Tips to Survive Your First Lecture

Written by: Sarah Camacho

The transition into university can be an overwhelming experience. Walking through those doors for the first time feels a lot like walking through your high school on your first day of grade nine; the butterflies and the anxiety surfaces at the sight of the new surroundings and all the new and unfamiliar faces. Amongst all this madness, how are you expected to thrive academically, while adjusting to the social aspect of post-secondary school? Classes are expanding from an hour to three hours for each class. That’s a huge adjustment and for someone with a short attention span, like me, my biggest concern was, “how am I going to sit still for that long?”

With three years of post-secondary education under my belt, I’ve definitely found some ways to really help me succeed. This two part series will tackle how to succeed during a lecture and how to take effective notes. This compilation of tips that I’ve put together can, hopefully, help you find your own unique way to do your best during your first year, here at Trent University Durham.



Tip #1: Don’t sit in the back
When you enter the classrooms for the first time, it’s easy to immediately find a seat in the very back. Trust me, I hid in the back row my entire first year. Many students think that it doesn’t really matter where you sit, but it does have an effect on how you focus during a lecture. I understand not wanting to sit in the front row either; it always seemed too ambitious for me. But somewhere in the middle of the room, I think, is the perfect seat. Being closer to the front, especially in a bigger lecture hall allows you to hear better. With some professors it can be difficult to hear them clearly, but by being closer to them, the chances of you missing something important is lessened. In addition, the closer you are, the less likely you are to become distracted by everyone’s laptop screens.

Tip #2: Refrain from social media
Try to refrain from using your phone in a lecture or scrolling through Instagram and Twitter. I am definitely guilty of doing this once or twice! There has been more than one incident where I’ve missed an important point or became extremely lost in the lecture because my phone distracted me. It is not something you want to do because it gets really
confusing, really fast. In the grand scheme of things, being absent from social media for three or so hours isn’t a big deal. Lecture material definitely outweighs the latest drama on Twitter.

Tip #3: Always bring a drink and snacks
The uncomfortable dryness in your mouth or the awkward noises your stomach makes when it is hungry, are the worst feelings to have in a room full of strangers during a lecture. During a morning class, tea or coffee will become your best friend! But I also suggest bringing a bottle of water. Keeping hydrated and having snacks allows you to keep your focus because you’re not zoning out, running low on energy or thinking about what food you’re going to have once class is over.

Hopefully with these three easy tips, your first lecture here at Trent University Durham will be less scary and less stressful. Stay tuned for the second part that will be coming up in a couple of weeks. Until then…I’ll see ya’ll later!

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