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First-Generation Students

First-Generation Faculty Advice

Many students new to college will find that their courses deal with deeper, more complicated ideas than they encountered in high school.  In many high schools, there are few consequences for zoning out or losing focus in class.  Zoning out or losing focus in college can come with very heavy consequences.  You will need your teacher’s instruction to succeed on future assignments.  Getting distracted can also result in missing updates on deadlines.  Most importantly though, zoning out in class can affect the teacher’s opinion of you as a student!  Knowing that a student is actively engaged in class makes professors even more willing to help when help is needed.  In our hyper-mediated age, students often believe that zoning out is the result of a natural and unconquerable urge – they believe they “just have problems paying attention.”  This is a misunderstanding of the problem.  As a student, you need to train your attention span.  You should actively fight the tendency to think about other matters in class.  Your resistance will strengthen over time.  You need to make yourself interested in class material (especially when you have a boring teacher!).  Ask questions.  Offer comments.  Listen to your classmates’ ideas.  If you get in the habit of doing these things, you’ll soon find that you don’t have any time to be distracted.  And it’s true – you don’t have time for it, you can’t afford it.  Learning how to learn is the most important lesson you can take from college.  Begin the task at the beginning of your studies here at UHD.

Adam Ellwanger


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Last updated or reviewed on 9/30/14

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