Tips To Stay Focused In Class

By: Madison Cho

As a high school student, a lot of the time I’m tired and hungry, which makes it impossible to concentrate. I had a very hard time focusing as the curriculum picked up my junior year and my grades began to see the effect. That was when I knew that I had to make some changes so that I could focus. I took what I knew worked with the younger kids who I had volunteered with before and applied some of these practices to my life.

For me, sometimes staying focused in class is a chore, especially when you’re exhausted and generally disinterested in the topic being discussed. As a result, grades are lower, there’s more confusion in later lessons, and you are forced to spend extra time relearning material you could have picked up, had you been focused. Here are some helpful tips to keep yourself focused and learning without the use of caffeine.

  1. Get sleep the night before: Some days this is easy, you can put your phone away early and get some rest. However there are some nights where you only sleep an hour then are forced to get to class. When I’ve gotten almost no sleep washing my face with cold water wakes me up out of the morning fog and a good breakfast helps give me energy. Quick tip – Any carbohydrates can give you a quick boost of energy.                                                                                                                                     1024px-Eirik_Newth-A_sleeping_kitten-02 
  2. Drink water, and lots of it: When we sleep we are without water for hours, so as we go through a busy school day, we rarely take time to drink it. Without water, our bodies feel heavy and tired therefore our minds are focused more on finding something to drink rather than the lesson. Something that really helped me was carrying around a big water bottle. If water bores you like so many other people, add slices of fruit to the bottle the night before. Raspberries and lime, strawberries and lemon, or even cucumber and mint, are all good combinations. I love having pretty and colorful water that actually tastes like something. It’s so much better for you too, since there’s no sugar or caffeine.                                                 tumblr_inline_njcycc3o8a1t2ns7u 
  3. Try playdough or silly putty: Our bodies are designed to stay active. Humans have a hard time sitting completely still in a chair for hours. Playdough, silly putty, or any quiet, non messy, and malleable thing works. This helped me the most, by allowing my hands to be active, my mind is more willing to focus on a task. This technique is used with children with attention problems and can be used for people of many ages. Many of my high school peers and friends borrow my putty or bring their own. If you find yourself playing with objects in your pencil case or your hair, this is definitely something you should try.                                                                                                                                           4b46e8ddc2e4910a460527cc192b9dd3e72c4f4a726e3f8bcaf60bf99f3830a8 
  4. PUT AWAY THE PHONE: Do it, for real. It is very unlikely that an Instagram post or a text is more important than the lesson you will be tested on. Save your phone for lunch or between classes. Keep your mind on the lesson and your grades will pay off. I put mine deep in my backpack so I’m not tempted to use it. Try it out for yourself!                                                                                                                                                         hotlineb1

It’s important to be focused in class. Trying to learn a lesson later without the help of a teacher to answer your questions or coherent notes is considerably harder. If you have trouble concentrating and focusing, make an effort to change that and find what works for you. Best of luck!

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About this student – I’m Madison Cho, I attend the International Academy (IB school) in Michigan. School consumes a lot of my time but I really enjoy making music with my friends whenever I get the chance. I love all things biology and I hope to pursue a career in medicine in the future!



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