Making the Most Out of In-Person Classes

Though most of us may go to class for the sake of attending, there are far more valuable experiences to gain when learning in-person. Making small efforts to connect more with our surroundings will let us stay on track and gain more confidence throughout our undergraduate years. Here are some tips that I find helpful to keep in mind to help make the most of our time in the classroom!

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

Stay Focused

Attending classes in-person automatically decreases the number of distractions. Sharing a similar environment where everyone is paying attention can be a motivating factor to stay away from other distractions, like surfing the web, or worrying about other ‘To Dos’ [1].

Other Tips

  • Complete pressing tasks on your laptop, and silence notifications before entering the lecture. I find that this helps me space out way less often and focus on the instructor with more ease.
  • Find a new note-taking method that works best for you in person. Our toolkit on Taking Notes might be helpful to find new note-taking strategies!
  • Jot down questions that pop up throughout the lecture. I try to email the instructor for more clarification about course material or an assignment that was mentioned before I have time to forget about it! Another option is to ask a nearby lecture/discussion buddy. It helps me sort out all the information I need and gives me a clearer idea on how to divide and complete my assigned tasks early on.
  • Schedule readings around classes – some courses may suggest to do them either before or after class. Either way, choose what works best for your learning style and schedule to stay organized.
  • Our physical location in the classroom matters! Sitting at the front helps me stay more alert. Though it may be tempting to sit in the back and relax, this makes retaining course content and details about assignments more difficult, and being attentive in class makes studying easier in the future. (Do make sure to avoid left-handed desks, unless you are left-handed, so you can relax your arms when taking notes)
  • Take a bike or skateboard on campus! It gets you to class earlier and it’s great exercise.

Participating in Class

Lastly, let’s look into making and getting the most when attending live classes. Attending lectures in-person has been shown to motivate students to engage with class material further than joining virtually [2].

  • Participating helps learning. Answering questions during lectures establishes a familiarity with the instructor and the course material. It is also a useful tactic to gain more insight and ideas for assignments, projects, etc. Raising our hand in a large lecture hall can be quite overwhelming, so I personally find that visiting office hours is the best way to get questions answered and build more rapport with the course and instructor.
  • When communicating with peers, take the initiative to talk with classmates during group discussions or assignments. For me, it helps lessen isolation. Engaging with others outside an identified “close group” has also been shown to improve students’ mental health too [3]. Talking about topics outside of the assignments helped me create more connections with others. In classes that do not use group settings, I start by introducing myself to someone next to me and keep in touch with them throughout and after the course.

Remember to take it easy – managing schoolwork while creating new connections is complicated! However, it is always worth keeping in mind that being more integrated with academics and social communities will definitely benefit us in the long run.

Do you have any tips for making the most out of in person classes? Share them in the comments below.



Resources Consulted:

American Consumer Credit Counseling. (n.d.). The What, Why And How Of A Budget Plan.

UBC Student Services. (n.d.). Financial Blanning.

Vohwinkle, J. (2020, October 6). How to Make a Personal Budget in 6 Easy Steps. The Balance.

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