Feeling Lost in Class? How to Refocus
Feeling lost in class in college can leave students feeling stuck and helpless.
There are a variety of reasons you may be feeling lost in class, from personal problems to simply having trouble motivating yourself.
It may seem like you’re the only one having trouble tuning into your lectures, but rest assured that plenty of other students are having the same problem.
Whatever your reason for feeling lost in class, there’s a solution.
Overwhelmed by the material?
This is an especially common problem among first year students who are facing their first college-level coursework. If you feel overwhelmed by weekly reading or homework, odds are that you’ll fall further and further behind until exam time is suddenly looming ahead of you.
Avoid this horror scenario by tackling the problem ASAP. Visit your professor during office hours, talk to teaching assistants for help, form study groups or get yourself a tutor. Whatever your solution, institute it immediately. It will only get more difficult and you will simply feel more lost in class as time goes on if you don’t deal with it now.
Having trouble fitting everything into your schedule?
If you find that your days are flashing by without time for homework (or class), it’s no surprise that you are feeling lost in class. One of the toughest aspects of college is time management. While high school is very regimented, college schedules are much more relaxed. Plus, it’s not like the school is going to call your parents if you skip class for a day!
College is when time management becomes a must. Download a scheduling app or buy a planner and make sure you set aside a certain amount of time each day for your studies. I found it easiest to make myself a daily schedule (despite my totally varying class times) when I was in school, getting up around the same time every day and including blocks of time for reading and college extracurricular activities.
Simply can’t pay attention?
One of the most common reasons students start to feel lost in class is simply because they keep zoning out. Many college classes are interesting, but others can be a total drag, especially if you’re trying to stay awake for a two-hour lecture.
To help stay focused, students should avoid technological distractions: text messages, instant messages, email messages. All of these are surefire ways to get lost during lectures, and they all can wait until after class.
If you still have trouble paying attention, even with the cell phone off, there are a few things to try. Taking care of yourself physically can help ensure that you are alert during class: eating right, sleeping enough and getting exercise are all important parts of staying healthy in college. You also might find that snacking on nuts can help you concentrate.
If you still find yourself getting lost, try taking notes by hand (a personal trick of mine) – it requires more physical and mental attention than blindly typing and staring at a computer screen.
Dealing with personal problems?
Finally, some students find themselves lost in class due to personal problems. From a death in the family to financial problems, there are many stressors that can easily distract students from their coursework.
If you need to, speak to your professors about rescheduling exams or pushing back paper deadlines. Keep trying to stick with school, which can often serve as a welcome distraction from the troubles of daily life.
If you simply can’t focus on school due to personal problems, like depression, be sure to speak to someone. Your school should have mental health services for students that can offer advice and counseling. Feeling lost in class during college is perfectly normal, but there are instances when you may need more than simple tutoring.