Most people end up taking at least a couple pit classes in college – yes, even musicians. It’s a rite of passage, almost. A ritual.

Imagine: You sit in a room with three hundred other people. You watch the Elder in front of you, listen to their words, write down what you can and hope to remember the rest. There will be a Test. Those who pass the Test will be allowed to move on and learn deeper, more arcane knowledge, while those who don’t may be rejected entirely. That sounds pretty ritualistic to me.

That does not mean, however, that pit classes don’t suck. They do. There are Many People, and the material is generally the type of thing that is taught completely via PowerPoint slides, and it is not fun. If you’re stuck in a pit class, you deserve to make it nicer for yourself. Here are four ways to do that thing!

Bring food specifically to eat during that class. When have M&Ms ever steered you wrong? Or, if you don’t want candy, apple slices and peanut butter! Bring something small with you to give yourself a reward for showing up to class.

Sit in the fourth row, near the wall. Or otherwise in the front 25% of the room, but near the edge. It’s great because it’s in what’s known as the T-zone – the zone where students learn the most – but also OUTSIDE of the professor’s immediate eye-contact zone. You don’t have to stress about getting called on as much, if that’s the kind of thing your professor does, so it’s MUCH less stressful.

Read the chapters and slides BEFORE class. Seriously, if you read your materials before the class they’re assigned for, you will be 100% happier. You won’t be as stressed about what you do or do not copy down, and you’ll be able to listen to what the professor says. A lot of interesting or supporting material is never added to your slides, so if you know what’s on them you can write down the neat stuff your professor talks about.

Make friends with the people next to you. This is good for you twice. First, it gives you someone to nudge and snicker with when class gets REALLY dull. Second, it gives you someone you can contact for notes if you miss a day, without feeling weird about it. Even if you just chat about the weather for five minutes before class starts, that’s a connection that will help you out later.

Pit classes aren’t fun, but you can survive them! Take care of yourself and use these tips and you will feel way better about the class.

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