Don’t just be there, BE THERE!

Taylor Fortney
Master Tutor

So you made it to every class. You were in your seat, but you were really there just to grab your attendance points. And now you find yourself struggling to do assignments or understanding what’s going on when exam time comes. Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t the professor or the review’s fault. Maybe you aren’t getting the most out of class time!

Just because you are in your seat doesn’t mean you are paying attention. A passive student sits in their chair, listens with one ear to the lecture, but all the while is thinking about lunch, or that night’s plans, or the Tech football game coming up. An engaged student actively listens and participates in the lecture. Here are 2 solid ways to become an engaged student.

1. Take your own notes, don’t just copy them!
Many professors provide or use slideshows, and typically students either copy word for word the PowerPoint, or just fill in the blanks. An engaged student will supplement the professor’s notes with their own, by writing detailed elaborations of the material, and starring or highlighting key points the professor emphasizes. 

2. Participate in the lecture or discussion!
I know this involves doing new and scary things, but raise your hand and speak in class. Engaged students learn most when they involve themselves in the material. That includes answering questions in class, getting feedback from the professor, and even talking with other students during small group discussion. You won’t always be right, but getting positive OR negative feedback means the difference between “kind of getting it,” and completely understanding and applying the material.

student raising hand in classroom

While this might be uncomfortable at first (particularly participating in class), the rewards are so worth it! And the more you act and participate, the easier it gets. And when you do this for two straight weeks, you put yourself in a much better position to ace that next exam! And always, remember the saying that is credited to Benjamin Franklin:

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. Benjamin Franklin

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