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In Academics on
February 6, 2018

10 Questions About Note Taking In College Answered

Note taking is so important in college, but it can be difficult to grasp. Today’s blog will walk you through 10 questions about note taking in college and I will give you my best answers to each of these pressing questions so that you can be the best note taker possible!

Here are just a few of the questions we are answering today:

  • Should I handwrite or type my notes?
  • Which note taking method is right for me?
  • How should I organize my notes?
  • …and more!

 10 Questions About Note Taking In College Answered | Have a question about note taking in college? Well, I have hopefully answered all your most pressing questions in this note taking answer session. I am chatting about things like typing or handwriting your notes, color coding your notes, organizing your notes, and so much more.

1. Should I Handwrite Or Type My Notes?

This is a huge debate for the college community. Most of my classes in college weren’t as laptop friendly and I personally hated lugging around my laptop (especially when I lived off campus.) I would often handwrite my notes even though I am probably a much faster typer than I am writer.

In the end, it’s about preference in my opinion. Don’t rule out either. Try them both out in your different classes. I hypothesize that what you might find is typing works best for some classes while handwriting your notes works for others.

For example, typing might be annoying in a math class with a bunch of difficult equations. Keyboards have come along way, but they are still not meant to type numbers and math out. For those classes handwriting your notes would probably be easier. In a class with a bunch of technical jargon or just words, typing might be better because you can spell check as you go.

Be open to both and don’t be afraid to use a mixture depending on what you need at the time.

2. If I Type My Notes Which App Should I Use?

If you choose to type your notes there are a variety of methods you can use.

You may want to be simple and use a Word or Pages document.

You may want to be more complex and use a note taking platform like EverNote or Microsoft OneNote.

You want to choose an app that works for you!

Why do you choose to type your notes? Getting that answer may help you decide the kind of note taking app you want to use. You want a note taking app that lives up to your expectations and needs. So, create a list of what you need from your note taking app and choose the app that checks most if not all of those boxes.

3. Is Color Coding My Notes Necessary?

Some people get really in depth when it comes to notes and they color code everything. Blue is a date, pink is an important person, green is something that may be on a test one day, etc. At the end of the day, this is time consuming af.

Color coding your notes makes them pretty, but it doesn’t necessarily make them practical.

My advice, skip the color coding during lecture and do it in a different way. Or, create a more condensed version of color coding.

For example:

  • You may write all your notes in black but then underline certain words with colorful pens. Underlining may help you reduce the amount of time you are spending color coding while giving you the same effect of color coding.
  • You might also use things like asterisks, underlines, brackets, etc. to denote certain important things in your notes.
  • Lastly, you may create content with two different colors, one for your main writing, and one to emphasize certain points in your writing.

At the end of the day you should strive to simplify the note taking process, not make it harder.

4. Which Note Taking Method Is Right For Me?

Many students default to the outlining method of note taking, but that method may or may not work best for you. It’s important for you to experiment with other forms of note taking so you can find the method that is truly the best fit for you.

I have always used the outlining method because it does work for me, but if you find that you feel you could be taking notes in a more effective way–branch out! Find a style that works best for you and stick with it until it doesn’t.

Below I am linking this awesome article by Chloe Burroughs. I love this article because she really breaks down these note taking methods so that they are easy to understand and visualize.

Related Reading: How To Choose The Best Note Taking Method by Chloe Burroughs 

5. How Can I Create A Balance Between Listening And Note Taking In College?

In my honest opinion, the best way to create the balance between active listening and note taking is to put down your pen. I know, crazy!

When I was in college I saw so many people who were writing so fast in class that their hands were cramping up. They were seriously cramping my vibes in class because I was never one of those people. You see, in this particular class about poetry, we both made As, but I made As without cramping up every five seconds.

I realized long ago that the teachers words wouldn’t truly mean much if I didn’t grasp them and put them in my own words. So, instead of being a transcriber I became a summarizer. I would put my pen down, listen for a slide or two, then I would pick up my pen and write down the important things. 

Transcribing is not note taking my friends!

 10 Questions About Note Taking In College Answered | Have a question about note taking in college? Well, I have hopefully answered all your most pressing questions in this note taking answer session. I am chatting about things like typing or handwriting your notes, color coding your notes, organizing your notes, and so much more.

6. How Should I Take Advantage Of PowerPoints & Lecture Outlines When Note Taking?

If you want to take advantage of the PowerPoints or lecture outlines your teacher provides–print them out and bring them to class with you! Alternatively, put them on your tablet or laptop so you can have them open during class. This is the first step to being able to utilize them.

If you have access to these before class, give them a quick read through. This will help you orient yourself to what you will be discussing in class. Write down any preliminary questions you have in the margins or on a separate sheet of paper.

When you are in class, follow along. If it’s in the lecture outline or PowerPoints you don’t need to re-write it down.  Add on to the notes your teacher gave you, don’t copy them! Your professor will likely go into further detail in class. Use the PowerPoint or Lecture Outline as a basis for your note taking. Let it guide your note taking.

7. What Is The Best Method For Taking Notes From A Textbook?

When taking notes from a textbook I think the most important advice is don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t try to be fancy or come up with your own headings–the textbook company has already done that for you! Follow their headers and subheaders as you are taking notes.

It’s easy to think a task is too easy. You don’t want to just copy their outline because that would mean that you aren’t doing as much work as you should be, but sometimes you just need to relax. Go with their flow because ultimately that will be the best way to take notes and be able to compare notes with the book when you are studying later. 

8. How Should I Organize My Notes?

Here are a few note organization methods:

For Handwritten Notes

The best method for organizing notes that I have found is using a binder with separate tabs for each class. Some people use notebooks but I find that:

  1. They can be wasteful if I don’t happen to use all the pages provided.
  2. They can’t be re-arranged or made smaller in case I want to study on the go.

I like that binders are flexible. If I find that I am taking fewer notes in one class I can move some of that classes paper to another class where I am constantly taking notes. I can also take the most important pages out of my binder so I can study on the go in case I don’t want to carry my binder around.

I have personally always been a fan of binders, although they can get a little bulky if you have a million articles and supplemental materials stuffed inside. I would encourage you to keep your binder as clean as possible. Some people have an expanding file or a few file folders at home that they use to keep old stuff during the semester that they may need at a later date (to study for a big test like midterms/finals and/or to write a big paper, etc.)

For typed Notes

If you don’t want to print them out, hole punch them, and organize them in a binder you should:

  • Create a huge folder for each semester.
  • Inside that semester folder you should create subfolders for each class.
  • Inside that subfolder you should have at least one Word document for your notes as well as any supplemental class materials like your syllabi and articles assigned.

You may want to create separate Word Documents for each type of note taking: one for in class note taking and one for textbook note taking.

Organization is key for note taking on your computer because you likely use your computer for more than just course work.

9. What Should I Do If I Can’t Keep Up With My Professor In Class?

There are a couple of options for people who can’t seem to keep up with their professor in class and it depends on a few things:

If You Have A Learning Or Physical Disability

Go to Disability Support Services! They offer a wide array of services that can help you in all of your classes. They may even be able to get you a note taker for your classes (at my school this was a student who volunteered to take notes for a student in class then they got a special notebook to make copies of all the notes they took, now at my alma mater this process is digitized though so they don’t need to get the special notebook.)

If you get a note taker you still need to pay attention in class, go to class, and try to write down the notes that you can. Your note taker is probably trying to be as meticulous as they can be, but they cannot write everything down! You need to be in class every day so you can get your information right from the professor’s mouth instead of through a student.

If You Just Have A Hard Time Keeping Up

Maybe this is your first time having to take diligent notes or your professor has an accent that you can’t quite grasp, here are some options for that:

Talk With Your Professor: They want to help you succeed! Ask them for their best advice on note taking and see what they have to say. You may even ask them if you could bring a recording device to class so you can get your notes completed. Let them know what you have been trying to do to keep up in class, so that you both can work together on a better solution!

Team Up With Another Classmate: If you are having difficulty keeping up, maybe a classmate is too. You guys can work together by trading notes after each class. You can scan your notes and send them to them and they can do the same. This way you both have two sets of notes to look off. You may have caught something they didn’t and vice versa.

10. What Do I Do With My Notes Once The Semester Is Finished?

The end of the semester is the best, but what do you do with all the notes that you just took. Here are a couple of options:

Recycle Them

Don’t just throw away your paper if you can help it, find a recycle bin and recycle all your old notes. If you have staples in your notes you may want to remove them. I know that some mills where paper gets recycled have the ability to remove staples, but you should remove them yourself just in case. You will feel a lot better if your recycle your notes versus burning them or throwing them away (although burning your notes after a crazy semester is fun sometimes.)

Keep Them

If you believe that you may re-use your notes at one point in your time as a college student, I’d keep them. For example, notes from the introduction to your major class may be useful later on when you get more involved in your major. Gather up all your notes, put them in a file folder, and keep them somewhere safe until you feel like you no longer need them–then recycle them.

Conclusion

Note taking is an important part of college life, but I hope that going through these answers helped you make better note taking decisions. Do you have any more questions about note taking in college? Leave them below so I can answer you in the comments!

In Academics on
January 24, 2018

10 Tips For Aspiring Sociology Majors And Minors

As you all know by now, I have a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Sociology. For some reason, I have never done a post like this on The Happy Arkansan, and I thought it was time for me to do this. So, here we have it, ten tips for aspiring sociology majors and minors. I hope that you get a lot out of the post that I wish I had as an undergraduate.

10 Tips For Aspiring Sociology Majors And Minors | Do you want to be a sociology major or minor? Well, I have the perfect tips for you! Check out this article for the tips that I wish I had when I started to get my Bachelor's in Sociology.

1. Get Ready To Read & Write (All The Time)

Reading is a huge part of being a sociology major. The more sociology classes you take, the harder and longer the readings get. Especially if you are reading some of the more classic sociological works, they can be hard to read. Articles can be filled with jargon, statistics, and ickiness. I have written extensively on this blog about the powers of skimming. I used to think that everyone was reading everything and just beating me because I was a slow reader. Then I realized everyone was just skimming. I wrote two great articles to teach you the art of skimming articles and academic books that I think will help you tremendously. You don’t have to feel slow or behind, you got this! I am confident of that.

Related Readings: Reading With Purpose: Article Skimming 101How To Effectively Skim An Academic Book

Another thing you will probably do a lot of is write. Writing takes time and practice to learn. I have written about writing a ton on this blog, and I loved the two-part series I am linking below featuring the 10 mistakes I saw college students make when I was a graduate assistant in grad school. Writing is something that you get better at the more you practice so keep writing so that you will keep getting better at it.

Related Readings: 10 Mistakes College Students Make When It Comes To Writing Papers (Part One | Part Two)

2. Don’t Think That You Will Escape Math

Sociology isn’t super math heavy, but you will need to know some basic (and not-so-basic) statistics. Your research needs to be statistically significant, even as a social science, so having some knowledge of statistical concepts is key. Pay attention in your stats and research methods courses because that will help you so much as you get older!

Also, you need to learn to utilize stats software like STATA or SPSS. Your school probably has access to at least one of these on the school computers so I would encourage you to download a random data set and play around in SPSS or STATA. One of my favorite data sets for sociology majors is the General Social Survey (or GSS.) I based my senior thesis in college from General Social Survey data and I did all the calculations by getting the data in SPSS format and manipulating it so I could focus on the parts I cared about. If you go to the GSS Data Explorer you can easily get the datasets in formats that your stats software can understand.

Working on stats is probably the easiest way to get better at it. Look up stats exercises for your preferred software and work through them. This will help you get exponentially better at doing them, even if it’s not the most fun use of a weeknight or weekend night.

3. Take Time To Experience All The Paths of Being A Sociology Major

Anything and everything can be studied through the sociological imagination. That is scary to think about: you mean, I can study everything? I have had professors who studied a wide array of things like religion, divorce, sports, race, class, immigration, deviance, gender, protests, hate groups, social movements, etc. Sociology studies the social world, and in that world, we do a lot of things!

I think the best thing a student can do, in my eyes, is take your collegiate years to experience it all. Experience all the courses that you can manage in college and explore different paths of being a sociology major.

As you get older, you will have to focus your attention a bit. You may have to write longer papers in undergrad such as a thesis. In that, you can really delve deep on a subject that matters to you.

When you get into your Master’s or Ph.D. program, you will have to be even more focused on one or a couple paths. For me, I found my love in studying race and social movements through the sociological lens.

4. Get To Know Your Professors Research (And Even Join It If You Can)

Each of your professors has a research interest. Getting to know your professors and their research interests are key because you can easily use that information to get more involved with the work that they are doing. Many professors want to work closely with students, but they can’t work with every single student. If you take some time to showcase that you are interested in what they are doing, you can probably get more involved with a professor’s research.

Getting involved in a professor’s research looks awesome on your resume! You may even be able to become a research assistant or take an independent study with a professor so you get class credit for working with them!

5. Get Ready To Face The Uncomfortable Topics

Sociology reflects society and sometimes society isn’t always pretty. You may have to cover some hard topics like criminal justice, race, gender, discrimination, poverty, class, sex, employment, etc.

You may be forced to think of a viewpoint you have never thought of or even some viewpoints that seem far-fetched or crazy. Sociology shouldn’t be about comfort. It should be about thinking about things using a variety of theories.

Don’t get set in your theory of thinking about things, especially not as an undergraduate. After you have taken some classes and learned some stuff you may find that you agree with a certain sociological theory or view more (for example, I am a conflict theorist) but you should definitely get to know other perspectives and put yourself in other people’s shoes.

Even though we study so much in sociology, I feel that it’s good practice. I don’t feel like everyone practices sociology the right way, some people refuse to hear other people’s points of views, and that’s not okay. You don’t have to agree with someone, but listen, and argue with facts.

10 Tips For Aspiring Sociology Majors And Minors | Do you want to be a sociology major or minor? Well, I have the perfect tips for you! Check out this article for the tips that I wish I had when I started to get my Bachelor's in Sociology.

6. Carry A Small Notebook With You All The Time

My best advice as a sociology major is to carry a small notebook with you or to take notes on your phone. When I was a sociology major (especially in graduate school) ideas for things to research, things to write, etc. struck me ALL THE TIME. You don’t want to be forced to write your ideas down on random pieces of scrap paper because those can get lost easily. I wrote so many article ideas in the margins of articles or on scrap pieces of paper that I can’t get back now. Do yourself a favor and keep a notebook near!

I encourage a notebook over your phone because you can always take out your notebook, even if you get an idea in the middle of a lecture (and I got plenty of mid-lecture ideas!) This is especially great if you plan to pursue a Master’s or Ph.D. in sociology!

7. Keep Up With Current Events (It Will Help You So Much In Class!)

Since sociologists study society, they also keep up to date with what’s going on in the news and in the world. If you keep up with the news going on, this will help you out so much and you will be able to relate the things you learn in class to what is happening in the news.

I encourage you to make a habit of checking the news in the morning whether you use a newsletter like The Skimm or the news app on your iPhone.

You also want to get your news from a variety of sources. I am as liberal as they come but sometimes I peek over to see what Fox News is reporting just to see what they are talking about. I also tend to get a lot of my news from moderate sources as well. You don’t want all your news to come from a single source!

8. Learn How To Utilize The Skills You Learn On Your Resume

If you are stopping at a BA or BS in Sociology, you really need to understand the skills of what you are learning from a Sociology major. Being a Sociology major won’t cast you out from getting jobs, but it’s not as cut and dry as a Mathematics major or a Biology major. Humanities are always going to be harder to categorize when it comes to showcasing them in a resume.

Instead of focusing on the major you received, focus on the skills you learned. Also, while you are in college, learn those skills!

Here are some skills you can work hard to build in college:

  • Oral Communication/Public Speaking: I had to do a lot of speaking in my college and graduate school sociology courses. I had to do presentations on papers that I read and wrote multiple times throughout my time in college and graduate school. People love people who can communicate, especially in front of people!
  • Written Communication: If you are a sociology major and you haven’t written like a million papers, I am not sure how! I wrote all the time in college and graduate school. Use that skill to get a job after college.
  • Statistics/Surveying: The art of building a survey,  administering a survey, and interpreting the results of that survey is a skill to be reckoned with. Not many people know how to do all of that and you don’t even have to have a HUGE understanding of the process. Basic knowledge of statistics and surveying is such a great skill to have!
  • Research: People don’t want to have to babysit you and tell you what to do every step of the way. They want you to be able to look things up on your own and solve as many of your own problems as possible. Being good at research, vetting research articles, etc. is always a great skill to have as an employee!

These are all great skills that you will get out of being a sociology major (and more, I couldn’t list all the skills!)

In today’s economy, having a college degree is more important than the degree you have. If you know how to work the skills that you have, you can become indispensable in the workplace.

9. Focus On Application Not Memorization

One of the main ways many of us are taught to study is through memorization. We are taught to memorize this list of things and regurgitate them on a test or piece of homework. That won’t work well in sociology.

Yes, you need to be able to memorize certain things to a point like some key figures in sociology, sociological concepts, sociological theories, etc. but more importantly you need to learn how to apply them.

You can’t get through your entire life as a sociologist rattling off fact after fact about sociology. At the end of the day, the point of sociology is to study society. We use these pieces of jargon to analyze society. You need to know the jargon to analyze society, but you also need to be able to utilize the jargon correctly.

You can’t create a 30-page paper for a class just rattling off definitions. Your grasp of the concepts has to go much further than that!

10. Join Academic organizations If You Can

Sociology is all about studying people in groups so it’s not surprising that there are a TON of groups that you can join as a sociology student and professional. These academic organizations are extremely valuable in my opinion, and you should try to join at least two if you can. Joining these organizations will help you connect, network, and be a part of the larger picture of sociology. Don’t get so stuck in your own head that you forget to make those connections because those connections are important in sociology (just like any other major!)

  • University Sociology Clubs: At the most basic level, your school probably has a sociology club that you can join to meet more people in your major. I loved being involved in the Sociology club at my school, and I know you will love joining yours too!
  • State Wide Sociological Societies: Your state probably has a sociological society as well that you can be a member of, though it might be a bit harder to find. You can probably ask your professors though as they may be able to help you locate a statewide membership.
  • Regional Sociological Societies: There are various regional sociological societies across the country. I am listing the ones I could find below. These are great for when you want to connect with more sociologist on a regional scale, plus going to these conferences are usually way more laid back than the national meeting at ASA.
  • Alpha Kappa Delta: Alpha Kappa Delta is the Sociological Honor Society. Many of the professors that I have met over my years as a student have been members of AKD. It isn’t the end all be all (I know many professors who weren’t) but it is nice to be involved in an organization that has helped many professors of the years.
  • American Sociological Association: ASA is the main sociological organization. It doesn’t have a GPA requirement, and it’s a pretty cool organization to be a part of, especially if you join the sections. It does cost a bit of cash, though, but students get discounted memberships. ASA has a huge conference every year and they also put out multiple journals across a wide array of sociological focuses each year. As a member, you get access to one print subscription each year which I always found fascinating. Plus, certain sections also have their own journals that you can get access to as well.

I hope that listing these out helped you find a sociology club, society, or association to join!

Conclusion

I will never regret being a sociology major in college or getting my Master’s in it, although it has pushed me a ton. I love studying people in this way and learning about sociology has helped me analyze so much in the world today. I hope that this article has helped any future sociology majors out there.

What are your best tips for sociology majors?

In Academics on
January 15, 2018

How To Survive (& Thrive) In An Online Course

Colleges are beginning to understand that they need to be more accommodating for students. They are creating many different ways of learning such as online courses and night classes that help students by adding flexibility. I am not the biggest online course fan, but during the two that I took during undergrad and grad school, I learned a lot of tips on taking them. Today’s post is going to be all about how to survive and thrive in an online course.

Related Read: The Happy Guide To Surviving Night Classes

How To Survive (& Thrive) In An Online Course | Are you taking an online course at your #college anytime soon? Check out my 10 tips that will help you survive and thrive all your online courses (especially if you are used to taking courses in a classroom!)

Keep Reading, Darling

In Academics on
January 5, 2018

The Introvert’s Guide To Getting Involved In Class

I am an introvert, y’all. I don’t think most people who took courses with me in college could tell, but I don’t like talking much, especially in large groups! Give me a small group any day and I am fine, but put me in front of more than five people and I am not so fine. The people I toured around my alma mater in college probably couldn’t tell this either, but I made exceptions for my introversion (more on that in tip #3!)

Today on the blog, I am going to share my introvert’s guide to class involvement so you can speak up in class, get to know the people you take classes with, and not get sweaty or nervous when a professor calls on you to speak.

 The Introvert's Guide To Getting Involved In Class | Click through for eight tips that will help you shake your introverted tendencies so you can stop missing out on class participation points. Become an academic extrovert with these 8 tips.

1. Think: Why Are You So Afraid Of Participation?

I have been reading this fantastic book by Mark Manson called “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck.” One of the concepts that Mark Manson talks about is why you shouldn’t be certain of yourself. It was an interesting concept to me because I always thought that we all needed to know certain facts about ourselves because if we didn’t, who are we? At the same time, though, after being a student in an actual classroom for 18 years, and then having that identity stripped away from me after I got my Master’s, I realize that I shouldn’t have put so much of myself into that identity.

All of this to say, you must truly think about why you are so afraid of participation. If something is holding you back in life, don’t just let it stick. Question it! If you know that your life would be better off if you could speak up in class, make friends in your classes, and chat with your professor–why are you accepting anything less?

Get to the root of what scares you, because once you have that figured out, you can solve that issue. There may be any number of reasons that you are afraid of participating in class, but if you don’t get to that reason you will never be able to solve that issue.


2. Be Ready To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

As an introvert getting involved in class is always scary. It’s hard to be recognized, share your opinions, and endure all the work that comes with class involvement.

You have to think of class involvement as a part of the college experience. College is much more rewarding when you are able to speak up in class and be a part of the class discussion. When you are avoiding your professor’s eye contact all the time and sitting silently in the back, class drones on.

When you are engaged with class discussion, communicating with your classmates, and really enjoying class it shows itself in the clock. Time moves quickly when you are having fun!

3. See The Classroom As A Chance To Be Free

One thing that I did as an introvert was see the classroom as a chance to be free of all my introverted behaviors. I treated the classroom like a safe haven for a more extroverted me. I thought of myself as an academic extrovert, meaning I’m an introvert but give me a few books and I can school you. I literally called myself an academic extrovert, y’all.

So, what does an academic extrovert do? Well, she participates in class, doesn’t get terribly nervous when doing presentations, she prepares as much as possible for class, she chimes in before she is made to chime in, and she is confident in her academic knowledge.

I am not yet confident in a lot of things, but I have always been confident in my ability to learn and my ability to write. Find the things that you are confident in and use them to the best of your ability in class.

4. Gain Knowledge And Keep Up With Your Homework

To be a great academic extrovert, you need to know what you are talking about. You will feel a lot better if you have some sense of knowledge when it comes to your classes.

For this part, you need to keep up with your reading (or at least become great at skimming articles and academic books) this way you have a bit of knowledge going into a class.

Above all else, you need to stick to what works for you. Don’t compare your study habits to those of other’s in your class because we all study differently. If I stressed out about the people with a million flashcards I would have never realized what worked for me when it came to studying for classes.

If your a flashcard learner, lean into that. If you are a creating a song about the events that took place learner, lean into that. If you are a teaching your friends learner, lean into that. Whatever kind of learner you are, be that learner.

5. Don’t Be Afraid Of Being Wrong

On the other hand, you have to stop the impression that you need to have all the right answers all the time. This holds you back and makes you want to avoid answering questions in class.

I was wrong quite a few times in college. Sometimes I guessed just because no one else was daring to try and I was tired of sitting in the silence of a teacher who was determined to get us to talk. I did all that, and guess what, I am completely fine and I made it through 6 years of higher education and no one ever yelled at me to shut up or told me I was a dummy who should stop trying.

You are not always going to be right, and that’s okay.

You Are Not Special

Gonna be real here for a hot sec.

You are not special.

No one is going home and making fun of you.

Your classmates aren’t really thinking about what you said in the classroom.

They are just happy that someone stepped up to answer the professor’s questions so they didn’t have to.

Your professors aren’t mad at you for not knowing the answer. They are happy that you at least tried to approach the question. They understand that being wrong is a part of the learning process.

You are the only one in this situation who thinks about your goof after it happened.

Do not put that thinking on other people.

We often project on to other people what we think about ourselves. We think everyone thinks we are stupid, or mean, or too nice, or rude. The other person is likely not even considering you after class unless you are good friends with them or you say something completely outrageous.

Yeah, if you say something racist or overtly sexist or downright mean, people will probably mention you to their family later.

You are talking about getting X=5 instead of X=10, though.

That doesn’t exactly make for important dinner conversation.

6. Participate On Your Own Free Will

To an introvert, the worst thing that can happen is, “If you all don’t start talking, I will call on people randomly.” No one wants that kind of negativity in their life.

Instead of waiting to be called on, speak up when you know the answer.

This is my secret sauce to being an academic extrovert.

I know I LITERALLY just told you don’t be afraid of being wrong, and you shouldn’t, but it’s so much easier to just talk when you know the answer instead of being backed into a corner to participate when you are less knowledgeable about a subject.

99% of the time I would only speak up when I knew the answer. The other 1% of the time I spoke up when the professor was doing the thing they do when they let a question sit in the air until someone answers or they get mad enough to assign a pop quiz because no one is participating.

Why do I do this? Chances are your professors aren’t going to call on the same people twice. Even in a 3 hour class, the professor doesn’t want the same person to answer again and again. Unless you are in a small class, if you voluntarily speak up, the professor will leave you alone for the rest of the class.

So, when the professor asked something and I knew the answer, I would voluntarily give the answer. That way I could get my involvement for the day over with in a way that I controlled #winning.

Now, this doesn’t have a 100% guaranteed success rate, but most of the time professors like to get as many people in your class involved as possible so they won’t likely call on you twice.

7. Get To Know The People In Your Classes

Getting up and doing a presentation in class is difficult, but it is even more difficult when you look out at the crowd and you don’t know anybody in your class. When you get to know the people in your classes you have someone to focus on when you have presentation jitters and you would rather sit down than get a good grade on a Powerpoint.

Getting to know people in your classes is easier said than done, I get that, but here are a few suggestions:

Get to know people by joining an academic club

Chances are your major has a student organization on campus. This can be a great way to meet a few people in your major. Go to those meetings, get to know students in your major, and have conversations with them. You probably won’t become best friends, but you will have a few acquaintances and that’s all you need.

Introduce yourself to the people around you

On the first day, introduce yourself, and if it’s been a while say something along the lines of, “Hey, I love your ____ (shoes, bag, button on your backpack). I have seen you in class but never introduced myself I’m ____.” Or, you know, something a little less robotic. Just strike up a conversation. Talk about how crazy the homework was.  If someone has a question, answer it. Don’t be creepy, but try talking to the people around you.

Get to class early (& take out your headphones!)

Last, but not least, get to class early if you can. I loved getting to class early. It’s easy to chat with those around you when you have some time before class to chat. Chatting after class is often way harder than striking up a conversation before class. Take out your headphones so that people feel encouraged to chat with you. You don’t have to have a constant smile (that looks creepy) but if someone looks at you, flash them a smile.

8. Be Strategic In Your Seating Arrangements

Sit in a way that makes you feel confident. For some that means sitting in the front of the class because it’s impossible to look behind you without causing a small scene. Some people like to sit in the back because it means that they can see everyone in front of them and beside them easily. Some people like to sit toward the front and off to the side that way they aren’t the center of attention, but they are still toward the front and closer to their professor. And so on, and so forth.

I always sat towards the front but to the side so I wasn’t front and center (because once I was front and center and I hated it.)

Where you sit can make a big impact on how comfortable you feel speaking up during class, so sit where you will feel comfortable sitting and participating.

Conclusion: You Are An Academic Extrovert

Remember, you don’t have to be an introvert all the time. You can chose certain places where you would like to be more outgoing. You can be confident in the places you want to be confident.

Yes, you may have an introverted personality, but your personality doesn’t have to define everything that you do. You get to define that.

I hope that today’s blog post helped you think about being an introvert in a new way.

Which of these tips will you utilize when you have your next class?


 The Introvert's Guide To Getting Involved In Class | Click through for eight tips that will help you shake your introverted tendencies so you can stop missing out on class participation points. Become an academic extrovert with these 8 tips.

 The Introvert's Guide To Getting Involved In Class | Click through for eight tips that will help you shake your introverted tendencies so you can stop missing out on class participation points. Become an academic extrovert with these 8 tips.