Lost in Class?
Have you ever been lost in what the professor is talking about in class? Have you ever missed a few slides because nature called? Have you ever lost track of notes because of a delayed bus? Trust me, in your four-year-long journey as an undergraduate, it would happen to you one way or another. You may be lost in class. As a senior, this has happened to me too. But I have some tips and tricks to stay on top of your game even though you may get lost once a while (hopefully just once a while).
Found before Class
To prevent getting lost in class, previewing the class material before class would be helpful. Some professors will post their lecture notes or worksheets before class. Take advantage of that and spend some time reading through them and maybe take notes beforehand. This will be helpful if the pace of the lecture is too fast for you or you do not have enough time to take notes during the lecture or just in general. More importantly, you should be going to the lecture with questions you have during the reading of the notes. You can pay more attention to the part of the lecture covering that certain topic. Attending a lecture with a purpose is always more effective than knowing nothing about the class. This would help you stay focused on the topic that you are not clear.
Found during Class
Friends and note-taking in class will always be a great help if you get lost. You always make friends during the lecture. Making friends not only expands your network in the department but also helps you making progress in class. If you missed notes from the class, ask around, one of your friends would likely have them for you to catch up. In the meantime, your friends might have a better understanding of some of the materials. It is never a bad idea to ask if you ever have doubts. Peers might give you some answers that are easier to understand. Meanwhile, taking smart notes is a survival skill for high loaded courses. Write down the keywords and using bullet points to organize the structure of your notes making them easier to understand and to prevent from spending too much time and attention in making detailed notes. The notes should be a tool to assist you to study not a distraction in class.
Found after Class
Class resources can assist you to solve your problems after class. Knowing your class resources is important to succeed in a class. Starting with reading the syllabus at the beginning of the semester to find out what resources are provided. TAs and professors are always great resources to answer your concerns and confusions. However, sometimes, these resources are not used to the fullest. As a TA, I encountered students who would still be uncertain afterward. It could be misunderstandings between TAs/professors and students or different understanding of the concepts. However, it’s always better if you can solve your problems in time instead of waiting for your next encounter. Tell your TA or professor what your thoughts are, or which part does not make sense to you. Make sure that you truly understand the concepts behind the questions. Other sources like tutoring hours (CARE), friends in class can be considered as useful tools too.
There is no reason to give up hope and stop trying just because you are lost in class. That happens to the best of us. Keep mind that there are resources around us to help us to stay in the game. Hopefully, this would be helpful in your fruitful academic journey.