Well, I have finished with orientation and everything was going fine until I got to the part about mandatory attendance at all lectures. I was very surprised and a bit unnerved by this. This may sound silly but I was really counting on skipping classes if need be. I just don't see how sitting in the same room for 4 hrs. listening to people talk is good time management for me. My brain begins to slow down after about 50 min. After 2 hrs. it wants to do something else. So, can anyone suggest ways of staying focused in lecture for so long? If I have to be in class all of the time I want to really make the most of it but right now I just see possible frustration looming. Thanks and I hope all of the other first years are orienting nicely!
First, congratulations on starting this exciting process. Medical school really can be fun (at least I've found it to be fun so far).
As to how to stay awake, I'd suggest doing what I did. Give in to the dark side and take a nap. You're right about not learning anything after awhile. I'd talk with some folks in the class above yours and see how your school enforces its mandatory attendance. Some schools are more mandatory than others.
Some of my other classroom pasttimes include studying, reading and, one of my favorites, playing various games on my PDA. Thank God for PDAs!
Good luck and take care,
Jeff Jarvis, MS-III
First of all, hopefully there WILL be breaks in those stretches of lecture time. Lecturers know that no one can pay attention for four hours and if they have any sense, they’ll take regular breaks. (If they don’t, they get what they deserve - a hall full of sleeping students.)
Second, wait and see what actually happens as you start classes. I know that in my first MS-I semester, our biochem lectures were blocked out as being from 1-5pm but in fact we were usually done by about 3:30 and that included one break.
Third, definitely scope out the room and figure out where you can sit so that you can make productive use of the time while not paying attention, if it turns out that it isn’t worth listening to the lecture.
Finally, mandatory attendance for lectures is crap. Hopefully you’ll find out that there are ways around it (without cheating or otherwise violating school policy) or you’ll discover that the mandatory attendance is only for small-group stuff, not large lecture hall stuff. I gotta say that although I am kind of an old fuddy-duddy about polite behavior in lecture (no newspaper in front of your face, no walkman), my “rules” go right out the window when attendance is mandated or when the lecturer is not even attempting to make it worth my while. Then, if it is more productive for me to read the sports pages or play solitaire on my PDA, I will do so.
And definitely pursue Jeff’s suggestion about finding out from the class ahead of you how these policies are handled by the class, and enforced by the school - that’ll be real handy information.
I learned how to sit in the back of the room with some notes from another class and study. If I was mandated to be there, I was there but my mind could be in another class. I did believe in being quiet and not looking bored. I was a subscriber to the “don’t piss off the prof” rule. Violate this rule and it can come back to haunt you in the form of a test that beats up on you.
Thanks for the advice everyone. I will see on Monday how it goes and as suggested I will find out from upperclassman what 'mandatory' really means.