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5 Things to do when you’re bored in class

It’s no surprise that class can get boring. In fact, it’s actually quite a miracle if it isn’t. Everything seems a bit useless when you’re sitting for hours on end in front of a whiteboard with words and pictures floating about. It becomes hard to process anything, and it becomes even harder for things to stick. You end up thinking, “I could be doing something else right now.” However, more often than not, we are stuck to our seats and forced to listen to the mundane drone of a lecture.

Fret not! I have come to you with five things to do when you’re bored in class. Are you ready?

Number one, doze off. Dozing off is one of the funnest things to do, especially during a math lecture because you don’t even realize you’re doing it! This trick comes naturally to the sleep-deprived and socially awkward and works effectively at every level. Be warned that at the early levels, dozing off is monitored more stringently. Nevertheless, it is still an effective way to gain some energy when the PowerPoint goes to parabola.

It’s interesting to note that there is a serene quality when one dozes off in class although that’s just what I’ve been told since I have never dozed off in class. Ever. Promise.

Number two, think about the work you have to do. School gets pretty stressful, so most of us need healthy outlets to express our emotions and display our stress. However, school takes up most of the day, so how can we express ourselves then? I say think! Our brains are giant empty spaces filled with more than enough horsepower to think up just about anything. Think about a nice looking apple. Think about a red car chasing an angry cow train off a cliff. Think about all the work you need to get done when you come home. Think about how life is so draining and that there isn’t enough time to gather your thoughts and formulate a proper response. Think about how it seems so meaningless to study just to work to finally “live” at the ripe old age of 79. Think.

Number three, look at your surroundings. I’ve heard people say that the world around us shapes us. I believe them. I think that everything around us, from the air we breathe to the people we meet, inevitably changes us. That doesn’t mean the change is significant or even important. Most changes are useless. Think about how the world’s climate changes over the course of centuries and millennia. Incremental change has now put us on this burning world we call home.

So, I say look around. Look at the whiteboard and all the boring scribbles we call words. Look through the window and into the ever busy outside world. Look at the floor and notice all the small dashes and that crack you never noticed before. Look at your classmate’s earlobes and how each one is shaped differently.

Seeing is believing, and you can only live if you truly believe. “But why live?” I hear you ask. Well, that’s simple. Live to make change. We can all agree, just by looking at our surroundings, that the world we live in stinks big time. It’s filled with death, pain, and injustice. We know things aren’t right, yet many of us look away. What we look at inevitably creates our world. Don’t be afraid to look at things for what they are. Look.

Number four, make a noise. Be careful with this one since noise is often discouraged in class. We are meant to listen and take notes. Teachers know best, and we are only there to absorb. Questions are saved for after the teacher has said his or her point. By that point, most of them already forgot their question or are too daunted by the amount of information that they cannot formulate any meaningful inquiry.

Nevertheless, make some noise. Noise is a wonderful thing because it reminds us we’re human. Noise is something we can’t turn off. We can close our eyes to stop seeing. We wear clothes to stop feeling the air. We can cover our mouths and noses to stop tasting and smelling. However, when you cover your ears, you hear yourself. You hear your heartbeat, and its faint pitter patter. You wonder if this is what it means to be a living being.

Hearing is difficult because you can’t help but hear. It comes so naturally to us that it becomes difficult to hear when too many things can be heard. Making noise is a skill that requires time and effort to master. You can’t say too much lest you deafen your audience. You can’t say too little lest it goes over their heads. It takes practice to hit the sweet spot - just the right amount of ‘obnoxious’ with the right amount of ‘correct.’

Making noise does two things. Firstly, it tells people what you think. When you tell people what you think, you add something. Out of a blank conversation, there is suddenly the fruit of interest. Adding value to a conversation comes by adding perspective and insight. That happens when you say what you think. Your ignorance is perspective, and your noise is insight. Secondly, it makes you real. Silence is akin to indifference in that you are a passive doer. You sit patiently waiting because that is the intrinsic meaning of silence. You do nothing; you only are. This can be comforting. There’s nothing to worry about and nothing to feel, but eventually, you’ll realize that doing is much better than just being. Preferably be a doer, but doing is just fine.

Number five, leave. My motto when it comes to work is to quit. Quit when something is not worthwhile. Quit when something is degrading. Quit when something is easy. Only do things that matter. What matters will differ depending on who you are but quit nonetheless. Now don’t take this as an excuse to leave class and skip school. Is school worthless? No. Is school easy? No. Does school matter? Yes. Why? It’s because it is our playbox.

As youth, it is important to understand the value of failure. Failure teaches us things that we would never learn in a textbook. Why? It’s because we are personal creatures. You don’t hate an ion just because you forgot whether it was positively or negatively charged. You do hate yourself when you start to speak and brainfart. When we grow up, we will no longer have the opportunity to fail. That’s not entirely true, but it does feel like that sometimes. Failure means death. Failure means a life in poverty. Failure means pain. We don’t like pain.

Therefore, it is crucial, and I mean absolutely critical, that we use our time in school to make mistakes. A common saying in the tech entrepreneur world is, “to go fast and break things”. When it comes to school, I agree. Go fast, break things, and then put them back together. This is our opportunity, our only opportunity, to really try things. There’s not enough time in the universe to be comfortable, but there’s always enough time to move.

So, why do I suggest you all leave? Well, I admit it was a catchy title. I also admit that I think it’s true. Life is too precious to waste it on something you don’t find useful. That’s why we have to leave the mindset of futility and come into the mindset of growth. School can be boring, supremely, but it is the perfect place to doze off. It’s the perfect place to think. It’s the perfect place to look around. It’s the perfect place to make some noise, and it’s the perfect place to leave only when you’re ready of course.

P.S. Don’t do these things literally. If you do, I’ll personally come to your classroom and reprimand you :)

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