The serious undergraduate knows the importance of absorbing the material offered in a college lecture. Good grades aside, the student would not have signed up for the course had he or she not meant to carry the knowledge gained forward into an employment situation. To fail to grasp the information encompassed by the lecture wastes both the student’s time and money.
Fully assimilating this information requires a good deal of concentration during each hour or segment of the lecture. For some students, concentration may come easy. For other students it can come with a frustrating struggle. Somewhere during the instructor’s discourse, attention tends to relax, the mind clouds over with extraneous thoughts and images. Salient points of the lecture escape unrecoverably. Concentration is lost.
To maintain an effective level of concentration during a lecture the student needs to prepare ahead of time for the session. A good six or eight hours of sleep the night before will work wonders toward sustaining concentration throughout the lecture. Nothing saps attentiveness like a brain (and body) deprived of adequate rest. The refreshed mind comprehends facts and ideas far better than one dulled by lack of sleep.
Diet also can play a significant role in a person’s ability to concentrate on difficult subject matters. Healthy foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals (lots of fruits and vegetables) help keep the body and brain well nourished and vigorous. Avoid eating a heavy meal just prior to an important lecture.
Distractions – of thought, activity or noise – also work against a person’s powers of concentration. Students who learn a few techniques of meditation can utilize these to achieve a desirable level of concentration to combat these diversions, whether internal or external. If nearby noisy colleagues break into a student’s concentration, the student might try a seat well removed from the distraction. The student also should refrain from personal activity, such as texting, note-passing or talking to others. Without the hindrance of needless interference, the student can focus on the task at hand, concentrating on the lecture.
Concentration may require consciously recapturing the immediate surroundings temporarily lost to what some might refer to as woolgathering. The student who succumbs to daydreaming during a lecture can return to the here and now quite easily. Take a moment to look around the room and bring back into focus various objects: a book, a desk, the lecturer’s tie. Concentration should return.