Are you wasting this invaluable piece of time?

alarm clock time

One thing overlooked

With the amount of work high school students are expected to do these days, getting everything done can be quite a challenge. On top of finishing assignments, retaining all of the information teachers hurl out during lectures can seem like a daunting task.


So, how do you keep up without going insane and spending every waking minute on schoolwork?


Spend your time wisely in class.


Although it may seem obvious, the hour or so you spend in a class is the most crucial time for learning and working. This is the time when topics are fresh in your head, and you are (hopefully) tuned in to the subject at hand.


But, as all students have learned, things can get monotonous in class at times. Here are the three steps to conquering complacency and getting the most out of your school day:


Engage yourself

As far as a quick trick to make school much easier and more enjoyable, there is no better tactic than to be willing to learn.


When starting class, don’t be focusing on friend drama, plans for after school, or even other classwork.


Although these things are an important part of life, there is no place for them in class. Instead, be ready to crack down and get things done.


This means not only having your materials, but being mentally prepared as well: think about how you can be successful in the upcoming minutes, and make it your goal to be productive.


You might slip up from time to time, but living in the moment and concentrating on the current work will create a sense of confidence and knowledge that makes school a lot more bearable.


Forgetting outside distractions and finding the willpower to stay focused for a whole period might seem difficult, but remember: when you leave school with a solid knowledge of class material no, the energy spent focusing when you were supposed to will seem well worth it.

Participate in discussions

Don’t run away… Please!


It might seem challenging, or even painful, but being an active part of class discussions is the single best way to learn and remember material.


First of all, ignore what other people “might think” about your opinions.


Easier said than done–but honestly, students look up to those who are willing to spread their ideas, and teachers are impressed by enthusiasm.


And, as long as you don’t control the entire conversation, there is no need to be worried about going over-the-top.


Increase Awareness: Taking part in discussions is a great way to stay engaged (see step 1). Talking with others in this way requires analysis of what others are saying, as well as creating possible responses.


Learn and Expand Material: While discussing, you are reviewing ideas relevant to the class, and often times taking it beyond basic concepts to more interesting levels. This acts as free test review, and sustains creativity that makes school a more interesting place.


Above all, discussing amongst your peers stimulates the mind and, who knows, maybe even signals to your teacher that deserve a little grade bump.


As author Barbara Sher once wrote,

“The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act.”

Be a real part of what is happening, and good things will come your way.


Use all of the hour

When it comes to saving time on coursework, the best option seems simple: get all that you can done in school.


Much of the time, though, teachers spend the majority of class lecturing; this means that extra time to do your work is rare. So, why not take advantage of the time you do have?


The available, yet misused, minutes before the end of class offer a perfect time to get a solid start on homework. What’s more, with the ideas from the preceding hour fresh in mind, assignments often seem like a breeze.


The best part of this is that there is no downside – either way you are stuck in class, so take advantage! It might seem like the last minutes are too short a time to be productive, but:


5 (minutes) x 180(school days) = 900(minutes)

900/60= 15 hours x 6(classes) = 90 hours

So, if you were to use the last 5 minutes of your 6 classes to work on assignments, that would add up to 90 hours of extra work time a year.


That’s time saved, freeing you up from the hassle of hours of homework, and allowing you to do things that really interest you.



Everyone encounters work stress, but they don’t have to. Using the school day wisely saves time and helps in the long run, making memorization easier and creating lasting knowledge. So, next time you pull out your phone in class, think about how you can use your time now to make the future more pleasant.

Andy Salmon

Andy is currently studying engineering at the University of Minnesota. He graduated in the top 1% of his class and received the full-ride Evans scholarship. Having put endless hours into studying over the years, Andy has learned that working efficiently–and knowing when to take a break–makes life much more enjoyable.