Sometimes (a lot of the time), lectures are a bit too boring to pay attention to, and before you know it, you end up scrolling through Facebook or checking your text messages. And while you believe you’re being inconspicuously sly, your actions are actually pretty obvious to those around you, including your professors. Here are the some of the most common things that are not as sneaky as you might think.
Using your phone
This is probably the biggest mistake we all make when trying to pass the time a mind-numbing lecture led by a monotonous professor rambling on about who knows what. It’s not that bad if you pull out your phone for a quick time check, but it’s a whole lot more obvious if you have both hands on your phone and your thumbs are twiddling away. Whether you hide it under your books or under the desk, your professors can see everything from the front of the classroom, and your iridescent face lit up as you flip through Snapchat stories is a dead giveaway. Plus, no one looks down into their lap and smiles for no reason.
Scrolling through Facebook
This is similar to using your phone in class. Some professors lecture way too fast for us to take handwritten notes, so we completely understand the need of a laptop in these situations. But not using your laptop to actually takes notes is more apparent than you think. Your professor’s well aware that your notes don’t warrant the occasional smile, smirk or scoff that inevitably comes from scrolling through Facebook or other social media sites. Plus, whenever you have these sites open, students around you unavoidably glance at your screen whether they intend to or not. From the front of the room, your professor notices that you have more than just Microsoft Word open. Your professor might not have x-ray vision, but these distractions are enough for them to call you out on the cute animal videos you’re watching.
At this point in the semester, most students are just sleep-deprived zombies roaming around campus, and so we completely understand why you’re so tired you’re falling asleep in class. But if you managed the arduous task of getting yourself out of bed and across campus to lecture, at least do yourself a favor and stay awake to take notes. If you really can’t handle that and know you’ll inevitably fall asleep, why not just stay in bed and have a more comfortable rest?
Slouching so far down into your chair that only your head peaks over the top is not enough to hide the very apparent fact that you’ve fallen asleep. Not only will your classmates look over and draw attention for you, but your professor, who has an aerial view of everyone, will definitely notice. Even if you usually enjoy the lecture material and this was only because of the all-nighter you pulled, you don’t want your professor to take it as an insult to their teaching and grade you down in the future.
We’ve all had lectures that are either too boring or too fast to keep up with, and so taking any sort of legible notes becomes an impossible task. Whatever the case, it isn’t long before you start doodling all over your notebook in a feigned attempt to keep your pen moving in some shape or form. At this point, you’ve taken a deep interest in what you believe to be the next Mona Lisa as it slowly but surely comes to life next to your scribble of notes about Freud.
Usually writing on a page isn’t that noticeable to a professor standing over a sea of students and their notebooks, but your darkened lines of careful contouring and shading are definitely going to capture their attention — but not for the time, effort or dedication put into your artwork. While your hopes for a budding artistic career hinge on esteemed recognition of your talent, all you may end up with is a ripped page and a flood of embarrassment. Do your future self a favor and save your ink for notes that will actually help you on your next midterm.
Perhaps the lesson learned is that trying to be sneaky only draws more attention to yourself, and the best solution is to just be obnoxious. Why not answer your phone the next time it goes off in class, too?
Contact Jenisha Sabaratnam at [email protected].