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9 Tips On Surviving A Boring College Lecture (Without Sleeping)

By Mike Hanski:

Many professors say it: “You won’t pass the exam if you don’t attend lectures!”

Most students don’t like lectures. With so many classes involving lecturing, students find it difficult to focus on what professors are saying. Traditional lectures get them bored, tired, and impatient.

And that’s a big problem because a traditional lecture remains one of the most common teaching methods for professors from all over the world because of its #1 advantage: it allows them to reach many students in one time slot.

The problem of students’ boredom at lectures disturbs many educators, as they want to see positive results of their work and know what they can do to change root and branch of the situation. Back in 2009, a senior lecturer from the University of Central Lancashire, Dr. Sandi Mann, together with his colleague, Andrew Robinson, published the study of student boredom suggesting that 60% of students find a half of their lectures boring and 30% consider all their lectures boring.

When asked what they did to cope with boring lectures, 75% of students named daydreaming, 66% chose to doodle, 50% chatted or sent text messages and 38% passed notes to friends. 25% of students left the lecture at the mid-session break. None of these strategies seems beneficial, and it leads to nothing but a waste of time.

When you are a college student with tons of assignments to accomplish, dozens of exams to pass, and crazy campus life to survive, you need to do something with those boring lectures making your life miserable. The issue seems so burning that students even brought it up at Quora where their peers shared practical suggestions on the subject.

As is evident from the foregoing, many students value their time and do something useful for their education and self-development during boring lectures.

The options are numerous:

1) Ask Questions: Participating in class, you speed up time and engage with the subject. You can find some studies or news articles on it beforehand to see if you have something to ask a professor on the topic. Moreover, it could be interesting for your peers, too.

2) Concentrate on the Subject: Focus on the subject, not the speaker. Your professor might speak with a monotonous voice, which makes you bored, but try thinking of him as if he was a computer reading you something. Concentrate on the subject and focus on the information. This trick helps to limit boredom and distraction.

3) Do Your Homework: Use this time to work on your homework and writing assignments. Boring lectures can be the best time to think about essay topics, do research, create outlines, write a draft, review notes, etc. If super smart, you can write essays and papers for other students, too.

4) Re-Write: Use boring lectures to re-write notes from other hard classes.

5) Read: If the lecture is boring, it doesn’t mean the subject is boring too. Get the textbook and read it, learning the information by your own.

6) Complete Your Reports: Boring lectures can be the best place to finish lab reports or complete notes from classes you’ve missed. Ask your friends for notes and complete yours.

7) Unleash Creativity: Don’t think of boring lectures being a waste of time. Use this time for something creative you enjoy doing: make cartoons, design websites, write lyrics or even start writing a novel, whatever. Why not, after all? And if you don’t want to listen to the lecture right here and now, record it to do it later. Luckily, many voice recording applications are free to download.

8) Write It Down: Don’t make boring lectures an excuse to avoid classes. When bored, just sit near the front and write everything down. When you take notes, you give your brain a purpose in listening to the professor’s words and filter the information to decide what is worth remembering.

9) Change the Attitude: Don’t consider a lecture boring and pointless before it begins; otherwise, it will appear to be so regardless its content. Go there with a purpose, focus, be attentive, and respect your professor.

An amount of research that proves the requirement for traditional lecturing is still considerable, and many educators are conservative with this approach. With that in mind, students do their best to stop accepting the world of learning as the one with an inevitable element of boredom by coming up with new and new ideas on getting the most out of the situation.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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