How to Get the Most Out of Class

Tobias Hope-Young


Do you daydream during lectures? Do you check your phone often in class? Are you reading this article when you really should be studying right now?

If the answer to any of these questions are yes, than you suffer from a mental state called “Monkey Mind,” which is the fanciful and capricious state of mind that has people jumping from one stimuli to another. And chances are it’s made it difficult for you to study.

However your plight is not without hope, because SCC’s own Mimi Harvey, a communications faculty member, is determined to help you get your mind off of what you did last night and back onto the matter at hand, mostly your school work.

We met at 9:30 a.m. and even at the dawn of her work day Harvey radiated enthusiasm and was more than ready to start telling her story.

She first discovered mindfulness while teaching in South Korea. It was during this time that she was struck by a severe virus that took away the hearing in her right ear, paralyzed half of her face and caused issues with her balance. This changed her world and made it uncomfortable for her to go back in front of a class, so she turned to meditation for help.

It was after studying meditation and the neuroscience behind it that Harvey began realizing how it could be used in a classroom setting to deal with stresses and the so-called monkey mind mentioned earlier. For those of you who want to be more mentally present but were disappointed by the delay of her lecture “Mindfulness in the Classroom,” I was able to pick up some helpful tips from Harvey on how to improve your state of mind.

The first is to develop a mindset of restraint. We live in the age of social media, so for many of us, it is impossible to cut these elements from our lives, but in order to be more mindful you don’t necessarily need to.

When you are in class and have the urge to check on social media simply put that urge in the back of your mind and focus at the task at hand. This is easier said than done, but think of it as a challenge to see how long you can go without looking at your phone.

The second point is to reinforce the first. Be conscious of how you spend your time and how you spend your attention. There is no such thing as multitasking, so you can only do one thing at a time so be conscious about what you do.

The third tip is meditation. Meditation is very beneficial to your daily life and can help mindfulness, but many of us can’t seem to carve out enough time in our day for it. However, Harvey was able to teach me a quick meditation technique she calls “the Three Conscious Breathes.” It’s quick and it’s easy to remember because the instructions are in the name, you simply breathe in and count to three and breathe out and count to three. You do this three times.

You can do this anywhere. You can do this during class. You can do this during an argument. You can even do this while reading this article. This meditation sends a message to your brain that you are not in a life or death situation and that you can be calm.  

With these methods, you can become more mindful inside and outside of the classroom. To learn more be sure to drop by for the seminar, which has been tentatively rescheduled for 12:30-1:20 p.m., May 8.