I doubt anybody would be surprised if I told them that college is extremely different from high school. The homework is larger, the teachers are stricter, the classes are more rigorous, and the cost is exorbitant. (R.I.P. my bank account) With all of these stressful factors piled on top of each other, most students are just trying to survive their classes, which can be made even harder if they’re being held for long periods of time. In order to maintain our sanity, it’s about time we learned some tips on how to survive long college classes.
The length of class time varies depending on which classes you’re taking, or what your major might be. For example, my classes this semester are no shorter than 3 hours per session (and meet more than once a week), clocking me in at 21 hours of class time per week. In the past, however, most of my classes have been as short as one hour per session, a fraction of what it is now. Because of this huge difference, I’ve had to make some adjustments as to how I approach my classes in order to survive the longer sessions.
1. Take Mental Breaks
In the 3 hour classes that I’ve been in, the professors have always been willing to give us at least one break throughout the class session, which I found to be very beneficial. But even if your professors doesn’t do this, do it for yourself. Take a bathroom break, go fill up your water bottle, or even just take some time to stretch at your desk. This is also good practice for shorter classes, if you begin feeling restless or fidgety. Sometimes just a quick mental break can help relieve any frustration or stress you might be having, and you can come back refreshed and able to make it through the rest of class.
2. Bring a Snack
Being hungry in class is the worst; being hungry when you still have 3 hours left of class is even worse. That’s why I always make sure that I have a snack on hand to eat if I get hungry. My favorite is a granola bar, but some other great ideas are yogurt, apple slices, and even popcorn. Just be careful to stay away from snacks that may make you feel groggy or more tired, which is sure to make the class go by even slower.
3. Make Some Friends
College wouldn’t be the same without great friends by our side, and that goes for long classes, too. Having friends in class gives you someone to partner up with for group projects or discussions, which can make the conversations and ideas flow better. Plus, if you’re in an art studio class, you’re often just working on projects while the professor supervises and guides your work, rather than lecturing you. This gives you plenty of time to chat with others, which can make the class more enjoyable and go by faster.
4. Don’t Have Long Classes Back-to-Back
Sometimes this is unavoidable, but if it’s possible, opt to not schedule your longer classes back-to-back. Leaving one 3 hour class and going directly to another can make the day awful. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a little bit of time between them. Having them set up like this can give you both a mental and physical break from the schoolwork, time to get some homework done, or grab a bit to eat.
5. Don’t Skip Class
Surviving your long classes also means being able to get the passing grade for it at the end of the semester, and that’s not possible if you’re constantly skipping it. Longer classes, which sometimes only meet once a week, can have tons of information packed into it that you don’t want to miss, especially if there’s a pop quiz or test the next class meeting. I’m sure it’d be more worth it just to go to the class, even though you don’t want to, than have to take it again next semester.
6. Get Plenty of Rest the Night Before
While sleep is hard to come by in college, it’s a necessity if you have a long class the next day. Without a good night’s sleep, the class will drag on and it will be hard to focus on the material.
Let’s look at an example from my life: I sometimes have three classes per day, which are each 3 hours per session. That’s 9 HOURS of class time in a single day, and I only have a total of 2.5 hours throughout the day for rest. This long expanse of time means that I am getting to campus early and leaving late, and I need a lot of energy throughout the day to survive (especially since I don’t have a room on campus to nap in during those 2.5 hours of break). I once didn’t get enough sleep the night before and felt tired and sluggish throughout the day; before my last class was even over, I had a headache that made me even more miserable. Since then, I’ve made it an effort to get plenty of sleep before my long classes, and it’s made a world of difference.
7. Give Yourself an Incentive
Even with all the above, it can still be hard to make it through a long college class; that’s when it’s time to give yourself an incentive. Tell yourself that as long as you do well and pay attention throughout class, you can spend some extra time watching your favorite TV show, or maybe get an ice cream from your favorite shop. As long as you hold yourself to it, this can be a great motivation. (A big shout-out to my friend Emilea for suggesting this one!)
Surviving long college classes can feel hard, but it doesn’t have to be! If you follow these tips, you’re sure to have an easier time making through them successfully.
How do you survive your long college classes?