How to Pass My Class: Patrick Schmiedt
Instructors share secret to success
Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 14:09
Boredom runs rampant in college classes these days with seemingly endless lectures and topics that are thought of as completely useless in a specific future career. Almost every single student on the NDSU campus is bored at some point in a week of classes. So how does one combat the boredom and pass with flying colors?
Patrick Schmiedt, a communication instructor, offered some useful advice about not only surviving, but also thriving in a boring college class.
“Half the battle is just getting to class and making college and classes the priority,” Schmiedt said. “You can’t do much unless you show up.”
Many students have a myriad of events and things going on, so finding the right balance between something such as work and school, or social life and school, will allow for better attendance in classes.
Avoid working on homework for hours on end, during the day, or long hours into the night. There will always be someone wanting to do something or hang out, so manage that time wisely.
“When you’re in school, college has to be your number one priority,” Schmiedt said.
Once class is actually attended, that is when the boredom usually sets in, but actions can be made to subdue the tedium.
Most often, the advice to students is to sit in the front few rows of class to be more engaged, but Schmiedt believes where one sits is completely subjective.
“Sit where it makes you comfortable. Sit where you can see what you need to see and hear what you need to hear. Find your comfort zone, whether it be in the back, where I most often sat, or in the first rows, and go with it,” Schmiedt expressed.
Also before class starts, proper preparation in hunger and sleep will significantly reduce distractions. Instead of concentrating on the class material, thoughts are swirling about what and when is the next meal. At other times, energy is being improperly focused on keeping the head up and eyes open.
Even if the appropriate actions are taken before class, students will inevitably experience boredom. As Schmiedt explained, though, some of the responsibility resides on the professor.
“When I see people wandering off, I think I’m not being engaging enough; I’m not being interesting enough,” he said. “So my responsibility as a teacher is to get you back.”
Professors that can recognize when students are wondering off, especially in the longer 75-minute classes, should try and schedule small mind breaks. Students can relax and recharge in those two or three minutes, allowing for better class experience.
“If there’s no luxury of a mind break, it’s kind of on you to find those moments in class to take a minute and breathe, because going for 75 minutes is tough,” Schmiedt said.
“Try and find that moment when your professor is switching topics or you’re working on clickers to let your brain turn off and recharge and then get back into it,” Schmiedt explained.
In addition to the small breaks in class, Schmiedt also gave advice on the issue of Twitter and Facebook in the classroom. Social media are so appealing when sitting in a dull class, because the information coming from it is always going to be new.
When a student steps into class, they do not know if there is going to be something new coming out of the professor’s mouth.
“But this behavior may not be 100 percent acceptable in most professions, so it’s smart to stop the habit early,” Schmeidt said.
When asked what is the most important advice he could give for being successful and passing not only his class, but other college courses, Schmiedt placed the most emphasis on taking what the class is giving and using it the best possible way for one’s future and profession.
“Every class you take, there’s something to be taken, and it’s your responsibility as someone who is paying for that class to find it,” Schmiedt said.
Schmeidt’s top tips for passing his courses:
1. Make going to class a priority.
2. Manage your time wisely.
3. Choose a seat in the classroom that helps you engage with the lecture.
4. Refrain from using social media during class time.