College lecture classes are often a new experience for freshmen. It transforms the manner in which they are used to being taught, and depersonalises the relationship they share with their tutor. These large lecture halls often seat a large mass of people, all studying the same topic at the same time. It’s easy to feel like just another face in the crowd.
Naturally this feeling can increase to the point where you feel dissociated and distracted, and due to the amount of people being taught your lecturer may not always keenly pick up on this the way in which your regular school teachers would have been able to. Not only are they broadcasting to a crowd of students, they’re probably teaching additional classes as well. It’s no wonder they won’t always be able to place a name to your face.
Don’t be disheartened though, there are plenty of steps that you can take to get the most out of this arrangement.
1. Pay attention
You might think that because you’re not being watched like a hawk you can play video games under your desk, browse the internet on your cell or text your friends – but these activities are all detrimental to your learning. Try to remember why you are there. You are paying to taught by your lecturer, in that environment. These individuals possess in depth knowledge in the subjects that they are teaching and their experience is invaluable to you; so make sure you’re listening intently and taking notes.
2. Meet up with your lecturer outside of class
Whilst you’re doing this, make sure to write anything down that you found confusing. Your lecturer will often provide contact details for you to get in touch if you need to. Although you are anonymous in the lecture hall scenario, you’re perfectly within your rights to catch your teacher after the lecture is over, or send any questions and worries to their email address. Most colleges have office hours for their staff as well so if you’re aware of these, you can always drop by their office to discuss the material that you are having trouble with.
3. Know your classmates
Lectures are a great opportunity to scope out your peers. Here you get to recognise faces and see who’s on the same course as you. Networking with these people and seeing them outside of class not only bags you a new friend, but it guarantees a good study friend as well and is an opening to forming your own study group. Try to organise times to get together outside of class in libraries or study halls for some group studying and make the most of your diverse learning.
4. Notes, notes, notes
It can’t be stressed enough – take notes! Whilst you’re sitting down listening you may think that all of the information is being processed and that you’ll remember it. However this isn’t always the case and you’ll find only a small portion of your learning will actually be committed to your long term memory. Make sure you get the work material down on paper or on a laptop. This way you have it for reference when you are revising later in the term. Just make sure you don’t use the information direct in your papers as you don’t want to get into trouble for plaigirism.
Most importantly… make sure you show up. It is tempting to skip a day or two when you’d rather do something else, especially when you know your absence won’t be noticed. However once you do this once you’ll fall into a pattern of repeating this behaviour and this is destructive to your studying.
Try to be responsible for your own studies. It’s not enough to ask for help from people that were there, as often they will only briefly overview things for you. Make sure you’re attending all of your lectures that you are paying for, after all why else would you be there if not to learn?