We’ve all done it. Sleeping through a lecture that is, especially those 2-hour post-lunch afternoon lectures.
Taking a nap and dozing off at such times can be the best form of instant rejuvenation for a student but is there a right way of doing it?
Well, there is no science to it, but I can tell you how I took my naps: Involuntarily!
Sometimes university days seem longer than they really are because, (1) you either had a very late night and are really tired or (2) you are simply bored out of your mind.
Either way, when the yawns come calling and you feel yourself involuntarily slipping away off to daydream lala land, embrace the nap (it is a sign that your body needs rest) and fall right into it! But before you do, take these steps to ensure your nap is a ‘healthy’ one!
1. Sit at the very back.
Because you do not want to be in the sights of a lecturer who could be easily offended. If they catch you, be ready for the guilt trip as the lecturer smites you in front of everyone.
2. Be awake and alert for the first and last 15 minutes of a lecture.
The introduction, if the lecturer is good, will point out the learning goals of the lecture while the conclusion will include a summary of everything. Stay awake at these crucial points and you will still come away having learnt something. Beware though, some lecturers have poor introductions and conclusions so make sure you follow my next tip.
3. Have study buddies share their notes.
These are not just regular friends. In my ebook How to Get a First I speak about having friends who are not only smarter than you, but are also more hardworking. As a group, you can support each other in various ways and one way of doing so is sharing quality notes with each when the other person ends up dozing.
4. Make up for the work.
As a student, without really being conscious of it I threw out the concept of schedules (ok, not completely, but quite a bit). I moved from managing time to managing tasks. I became an effective task manager and settled into a results-only study environment—ROSE (in How to Get a First, I adapted this idea from ROWE).
This meant that it was perfectly fine for me to doze off in lectures whenever I pleased provided I was ready to make up for it by studying the lecture material independently in my own time.
So if you do doze off, make sure that in your own time you go over the lecture material as soon as possible. Sometimes lectures involve a lot of ‘fluff’ to fill the 2 hour slots so you may even find that when you study the material on your own, you do it in half the time!
5. Create comfort.
Unfortunately not all lecture halls are designed for comfort. From wooden desks and chairs in older buildings to the more comfortable cushioned seats in modern buildings, you have to be prepared for whatever these rooms throw at you because discomfort will keep you awake!
In the winter, things are easier because you can use your large coats and jackets for extra cushioning but in the summer, you just might have to improvise with whatever you can find to make your nap more comfortable. Using three of four seats is a not a bad idea either if you wish to lay down.