Everyone’s been in one of those classes: the teacher or professor reads straight from the textbook, offering no new information to keep you engaged or necessitate note-taking. Their irritating, monotone voice manages to suck the remaining life out of the already dry material, and their lifeless eyes make you glad you’re not going into teaching. In my first class on my very first day of college, my economics professor told us that his former students called him “the Dehumidifier, because he could dry anything out.” I laughed and thought he was merely attempting self-depreciating humor. He wasn’t. Economics may not be the most naturally interesting subject ever, but he turned the class into an hour and fifteen minute long ordeal. In order to retain my sanity, I learned techniques that have helped me drive off the boredom throughout my college experience.
1. Draw geeky stuff
Doodling is a great way to pass the time, and it’s becoming somewhat of a lost art form since the advent of smart phones. But if your instructor is the type to give you menacing glares when you take out your phone, then doodling may be the way to go. It passes the time, while still allowing you to listen to what the instructor is saying. In fact, there is evidence that suggests that doodling may actually help students concentrate by preventing them from daydreaming, freeing their mind to absorb the information. You can draw anything from geometric patterns to geeky things like the Iron Throne or the TARDIS. I recently doodled symbols from a dozen different geeky shows while bored in economics class.
2. Set your life goals
Whether it’s going to Comic Con or becoming the next Steve Jobs, it’s always helpful to write down your goals. It helps solidify the vague ideas you have bouncing around in your head. And what better time to plan your life than in a boring class? Not only are you taking an important step towards a better future by earning some high school or college credits, you are planning exactly what you’re going to do with that diploma or degree at the same time you’re getting it.
3. Write this article
Write an article, work on an essay, or read a couple of chapters of the book you’ve been meaning to start. Not only are writing and reading productive and educational, they can also be fun and entertaining. The instructors will love you when they see you writing and assumes that you’re furiously scribbling notes, or notice you studiously reading the textbook inside which you have actually tucked your novel or that paper you’ll be sending in for essay pro reviews. This article is a product of philosophy class. The professor loves me because he saw me “taking notes” while he lectured on Kant, I got my articles finished, I still made an A on the test, and I survived several weeks of studying the most stuffy, dry philosopher who has ever set pen to paper. It’s a win-win-win-win. A four way win.
4. Play a mobile game
Hiding the phone under your desk doesn’t work; trust me. The teacher can still see it. But if the instructor is oblivious enough or just doesn’t care (many professors don’t consider it part of their job description to tell you how to behave; they just teach), then a boring class is the perfect time to beat your high score. You don’t have to feel guilty that you’re wasting time in which you could be studying or cleaning your disgusting dorm room; you literally have to be in class. Not only are you improving your gaming skills; you’re also subconsciously absorbing the information being taught (don’t quote me on that).
5. Do homework from another class
Nerds and geeks are (generally) smart and (mostly) want to succeed. But being stuck in a boring, easy class where you learn nothing and the teacher or professor drones on robotically may not be the most productive use of time. You can sit there and zone out, or you can be a go-getter and study for your other, more challenging classes. The teacher will think you are a good student, you’ll have something to do, and you’ll get a better grade in your other class. Take it from someone who only studied for her communications tests during math class.