Are you a front-row or a back-row kind of person? Middle? We all know that those unassigned seats become unofficially assigned pretty quick (unless you want to start a beef with one of your classmates). That first or second day, pick a seat where you feel comfortable, can see the screen and whiteboard, and can hear the instructor well. A front row seat might keep you at attention. If you are an introvert, try sitting in front of the professor’s computer. Although it may be uncomfortable at first, it is highly likely that the professor will learn your name and greet you every class. And that, my friends, is a good thing.


Selective silence, perhaps. Professors (and your classmates) like it when you answer their questions. And ask questions relevant to the class. But don’t be talking to your friends during class. It distracts everyone. And put your phone on silent. Unless there is an emergency, or you are playing Kahoot in class, there’s really no reason to have it out.

Do you really need a laptop?

Laptops can be great to take notes or look up something but can quickly become a distraction. You know when you’re on YouTube late at night and soon you find yourself in the weird part of the internet? Laptops in class are dangerous like that. You can start out with good intentions, but soon find yourself Facebook messaging or finding out what kind of bread you are on BuzzFeed. And yes, the people behind you are also watching Parks and Rec if you are. A better option to laptops is handwritten notes. You are then hearing the lecture, writing your interpretation of it, seeing what you are writing, and less prone to distraction.

Communication is Key

Communicate with your professor if you will need to miss class. Be proactive and let them know that you will be missing BEFORE you miss. DO NOT SAY “will I miss anything important?” Of course you are missing something important! You’re not paying thousands of dollars to sit and do nothing. Understand that sometimes you will not be able to make up a quiz, exam, or in-class activity. However, instructors are people too. If you let them know ahead of time that you will miss, and you have a valid reason for absence, they may be willing to work with you on a make-up assignment.

Don’t forget! If you have in-depth questions or feel lost in a class, use your professor! They are experts in their field! Sometimes a one-on-one session in office hours will help you understand the material better.

And finally….Avoid packing up early

Zippers, notebooks closing, jackets being put on, we all know the tell-tale signs of class ending. More times than not, the professor knows what time class ends and doesn’t need the little reminders. Those sounds are distracting to the professor and your classmates. Wait for the professor to be done with class to start packing up your stuff.

Author: Roz is a senior majoring in Psychology and Business Administration with emphases in Marketing and Human Resources. After graduating in May 2020, she plans to go to grad school for Industrial-Organizational Psychology.