It’s easy to agree that college is extremely different from high school. The homework is larger,  the classes are rigorous, and the cost is exorbitant. (RIP my bank account). With all of these stressful factors piled on top of each other, most students are just trying to survive their classes, which is even harder if they’re for long periods of time. In order to maintain our sanity, it’s about time we learned some tips on how to survive long college classes.

1. Take Mental Breaks

In the 3 hour classes that I’ve been in, the professors have always given us at least one break throughout the class session. This gave students some time to relax and the mental break they needed from the class.

But even if your professors doesn’t do this, do it for yourself. Take a bathroom break, go fill up your water bottle, or even just take some time to stretch at your desk. This is also good practice for shorter classes, if you begin feeling restless or fidgety. Sometimes just a quick mental break can relieve any frustration or stress and you can come back refreshed, more alert, and ready to make it through the rest of class.

2. Bring a Snack

Being hungry in class is the worst, especially if it’s a long class. That’s why I recommend keeping a small stash of snacks in your backpack in case you get hungry, such as granola bars, yogurt, apple slices, or even popcorn.

Just be careful to stay away from snacks that may make you feel groggy or more tired, which is sure to make the class go even slower.


3. Make Some Friends

College wouldn’t be the same without great friends by our side, and that goes for long classes, too.

Having friends in class gives you someone to partner up with for group projects or discussions, which can make the conversations and ideas flow better. Plus, if you’re in an art studio class, you’re often just working on projects, which gives you plenty of time to chat with others. Over all, having friends in class can make the class more enjoyable and go by faster.

4. Don’t Have Long Classes Back-to-Back

Sometimes this is unavoidable, but if it’s possible, opt to not have long classes back-to-back. After all, can you imagine sitting through a 3 hour lecture just to go to another one afterwards?

This is why it’s a good idea to have some time between long classes, or even alternate them with shorter classes. Having your class schedule set up like this can give you a mental and physical break from the schoolwork, time to get some homework done, or grab a bit to eat.

5. Don’t Skip Class

Longer classes, which sometimes only meet once a week, often have tons of information packed into each session that you don’t want to miss.

After all, these classes might only meet once a week throughout the semester, which means that if you miss just one class, you’re going 2 weeks without being there. So not only did you miss the content of the class, but you probably forgot a lot of what was being taught. This can be detrimental if there’s a pop quiz or a test coming up.

Plus, surviving a long college class also means getting the passing grade for it at the end of the semester, so don’t skip them.

6. Get Plenty of Rest the Night Before

While sleep is hard to come by in college, it’s a necessity if you have a long class the next day. Without a good night’s sleep, the class will feel much longer than it already is and it will be hard to focus on the material.

Let’s look at an example from my life: I sometimes have three classes per day, which are each 3 hours per session. That’s 9 HOURS of class time in a single day. Between those 3 classes, I only have 2.5 hours of rest spread throughout the day. Since I’m a commuter student, add an extra 2 hours of travel time; this means that my class days can be 13.5 hours long!

So since I’m getting to campus early and leaving late, I need a lot of energy throughout the day to survive. If I don’t, not only will I feel sluggish and tired throughout the day, but I can’t concentrate on my classwork and am left prone to headaches. (Been there, done that.)

Needless to say, whenever you have long classes (or long class days!) make it an effort to get plenty of sleep the night before. It can make a world of difference.

7. Give Yourself an Incentive

Even if you get plenty of rest, bring snacks, and follow all of my other tips to survive long college classes, it can still be hard to make it through them. That’s when it’s time to give yourself an incentive.

Tell yourself that as long as you do well and pay attention throughout class, you can spend some extra time watching your favorite TV show or maybe get an ice cream from your favorite shop. As long as you hold yourself to it, this can be a great motivation.