45+ Things to Do at a Boring Conference (2023) (2023)

This post offers more than 45 ideas to survive a boring lecture.

It is divided into two parts.

Do you want to use the conference to be productive, or do you want distractions to pass the time?1. diotalking about productive things to do,2. diotalk about fun things you can do.

Part 1: Productive things to do at a boring conference

  • The first part of this post gives you 21 productive ideas to make sure you survive a boring lecture and feel like you've done something that helps you learn.
  • I offer opportunities to turn boring reading time into productive learning time. Scroll down to get started with 21 productive tips for boring conferences.

Now go to part 1.

Part 2: Fun things to do at a boring conference

  • Who am I to deny people what they want? If you're looking for ideas for fun in class that aren't productive study tips,click here to go to part 2.
  • The second part gives you ideas on how to pass the time when you are bored in class. They give you some games, drawing lessons and origami ideas to pass the time! All these ideas came from my friends.

Now go to part 2.

No time to lose, let's get started!

Part 1: Productive ideas

Here are all the ideas to make your boring conference a little more productive!

1. Ask a relevant question to get the teacher back on track

The first thing you should do is try to right the ship.

There are two main reasons why a conference is boring. The first is because you have no idea how it relates to your test. The second is because the teacher's teaching style is dry.

Let me quickly explain these two:

a) The content is not relevant to the test

If what your teacher says has nothing to do with what you're being tested for, you won't be interested!

This is so frustrating. (Especially as all university professors in the UK and Australia take postgraduate certificates thatteach themabout its importance!)

But as a student, it's frustrating because the teacher wastes your time.

Of course content can sometimes have intrinsic value, for example it can be interesting, engaging and important to learn. But I suspect that's not true, because you're reading this blog post right now.

b) The teacher's teaching style is dry

Professors are notoriously bad teachers.

Many of them have never received a teaching degree or thought about how to teach in an interesting way.

It really is utter nonsense how little some teachers seem to care about the art of effective teaching.

Teachers speak slowly, monotonously. The content is dry and disconnected from real life.

Relief! I hate that! It's a waste of time and money!

Here's what you can do about it

Stop complaining.

Let's see if you can repair the ship.

Look for an opportunity to raise your hand and ask a question that might be of great value to you.

Your question can be about:

  • How does this information relate to the evaluation?
  • Can you give an example of how this information applies to my future profession?

2. Review the assessment instructions

It is possible that this boring information your teacher gives is really important.

On your laptop, log into your class website and find the page that describes what you need to do for your assessment tasks.

Read your assessment instructions.

Is there anything in the assessment instructions that relates to the lesson?

If so, you may need to rethink whether you should pay attention to this pesky piece of information.

If the information you're teaching (no matter how boring) is relevant to your assessments, start taking notes now!

Try to write down the teacher's main points. These can be:

  • Points on which you are assessed;
  • Information that you can use as an example and explanation in your evaluation;
  • Main sources and academics used by the teacher (mention them in your assessment!)

Look, I know that if the lesson is boring, the content probably has nothing to do with the grade. If not, you're probably a little more interested. It's amazing how teaching the test makes students more engaged.

However, it is important to check whether the content is really relevant.

3. Keep your ear open

Okay, the lecture seems irrelevant and not worth listening to.

The rest of my advice in this post is about finding alternative activities during the conference so you can reclaim your time.

But before we get to those points, there's one more important thing to remember:

Be sure to keep one ear open as you engage in alternative activities during the conference.

I would recommend at least going back every time the teacher changes slides to see what his next point is about.

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But if the content is far off the subject and your teacher is…completely boring…then you're probably sure you can do another assignment while still listening to your teacher with one ear.

Let's look at some productive things you could do.

4. Use the time for your weekly measurements

A boring lecture is a good time to catch up on your weekly reading.

There are several reasons for this:

Preparing for your seminar or class.You will likely have a class later in the week where you will need to discuss your weekly readings. What better time than now to complete that task?

This could make the conference more relevant.As you read, you may be able to refer back to the points your teacher makes and see how they relate to reading.

Weekly reading can also be quite boring! The art of reading academic papers is to do it quickly and efficiently while still getting important information out of it. If you have trouble reading, I recommend reading my tipshow to read a magazine article.

5. Start writing your essay!

What better time to start that essay than right now?

You have no distractions (other than an extremely annoying teacher) and a desk to focus on. Imagine leaving this conference withfast written essay plan!

You'll come home feeling like you accomplished something on your journey to college that day, knowing you didn't miss a thing in class.

If you did step 3, you already have a test message open, so you can use it to start typing.

For essay writing I recommend:

  • Start with a brainstorming session. My favorite way of thinking isuse mental maps.
  • Write a sketch without pressure. Start writing words on paper! You can edit as much as you want later. Just putting words on paper at the beginning is half the battle.

6. Use Google Scholar to find and save relevant articles to cite in your essay

Do you have your laptop with you or are you just on your phone at the moment?

If you have a laptop, I recommend using your time to collect some scientific papers for your essay.

Finding items is always a time-consuming task, but it's not too difficult either. This can be a bit inconvenient at times, so why not delete it during this annoying conference break?

I recommend finding 10-15 high quality scientific papers that you can then cite in your essay. This shows that you have done a lot of research.

Bestplaces to find scientific articlesshame:

  • Academic Google
  • Your university's online library database

Google Scholar is by far the easier of the two options. Indeed, you can calibrate Google Scholar to connect to your online library's database to get the best of both worlds. I'll show you how to do itin this post on Google Scholar career tips.

So go to Google Scholar (here:https://erudito.google.com) and use a few keywords for your essay and collect several articles that you think are relevant to your essay.

Keep them all in a folder on your laptop so you can easily find them when you insert citations for your essay.

7. Make a list of relevant library books to borrow

Textbooks are always easier to read than magazine articles.

So if you find articles in Google Scholar, try this tip.

Go to your university library's website on your laptop or phone and try to make a list of 5-10 textbooks that you think you can get information from.

The information in these textbooks will be much easier to read than magazine articles and will make more sense.

Your time at a boring conference is the ideal time for this. Because? Well, because you're in college.

You can spend the next few minutes at the conference looking for the books you need to master the subject.

Then you can go directly to the library after the lecture to borrow books.

All the good textbooks for your subject are often borrowed early, so I recommend getting your hands on them as soon as possible before someone else borrows them all.

8. Create overview maps

Do you already have content from your course that you need to study?

So now it's time to get organized to study that content!

I recommend using this time at your conference to make flashcards.

Just writing maps is very good for learning and remembering.

First, you need to go through your notes and find points that you think are relevant to the exam. By doing this, you read a lot of information and get the most important information out. It's the ultimate study activity!

But there's something else.

Because then you have to write a question and answer related to that point in your own words and in a format short enough to fit on a card with the palm of your hand. Here you exercise your ability to synthesize important information.

And then, of course, you have a great learning resource that you can come back to again and again in the weeks to come. Use the flashcards you made at the beginning of each study session for the next few weeks to get your brain going!

9. Write your own notes on all lesson slides

Okay, so the professor goes out on a tangent. They are really boring. So they are probably:

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  • Talk about something totally irrelevant to the lecture slides, or
  • Explaining information on lecture slides in a very, very unappealing way.

Perhaps the slides of the lectures can give you a little more insight?

Even if your teacher languishes on slide 1 and may tell you a totally irrelevant story about your family's last vacation, there's nothing stopping you from continuing to read and study the information on the lesson slides.

You should be able to access the college slides from your course website (if it's a good teacher, that is!).

Just download them and start writing your own notes.

Pay special attention to:

  • Cited Sources: Do you find the sources the teacher mentioned in his slides helpful?writing your essay?
  • Links to your assessment: Which points on the lesson slides are most relevant to your assessment tasks? They will get the most attention. Maybe you could remove some of those bullet points and turn them into flashcard study notes? (See point 8).

I posted the entire messagehow to take notes in classit may come in handy if you decide to take this step!

10. Come up with 3 relevant and pressing questions and email them to your teacher

As you sit and listen to your teacher chatter, think for a moment about what you want them to talk about.

Are there things in the course that you think need clarification?

A productive way to get really useful, relevant, and perhaps less boring topics to talk about from your teacher is to think about what you need to know.

Here are some resources you can use to find relevant questions:

  • Conference slides.Even if the teacher is boring, the slides from the lectures might give you something to think about. Go through them and find any points that confuse you or require further clarification. If there is anything you would like more information on, please email the teacher.
  • Evaluation task.By far the most common questions I get have to do with the assessment task. Are you unsure about the assessment task or how to complete it? It is best to ask questions to your teacher for clarification. What better time to ponder these questions than now?
  • Reading weeks.Students often have many questions about the weekly lectures. You may want to send a few questions about them to the teacher. But realistically, you'll probably be discussing this in your seminar later in the week.

11. Think about how you would explain the ideas if you were a teacher

Okay, so your professor is clearly a bad communicator.

Here's something you can try to clear things up a bit more in your mind:

First, try to summarize five key points or conclusions from the lecture slides.

Then remember: your teacher explains all this very badly. So how would you do it differently? Thatlearning strategieswould you use

You could have:

  • Divide the information into smaller points. What smaller dots would you come up with?
  • Have you given real life examples to make it seem more relevant?
  • Does it show how relevant the information is to your future profession?
  • Have you used YouTube videos that present information in an interesting way? Can you find a YouTube video that presents this information in a more appealing way?

If your teacher is doing a really bad job of teaching the content, think of ways to teach yourself! The four ideas above are just the beginning…what else can you think of?

12. Make practical, realistic connections to all points on the lesson slides

One of the main reasons my students find teachers boring is that the things they talk about seem completely irrelevant to their lives.

How about taking the plunge and trying to make those connections in real life yourself?

If your teacher talks about something you find completely boring, think about the effect it has on you. How can it affect the way you think about things?

Unfortunately, the college education level can be a bit steep. It floats 'up there' in the clouds and teachers don't try hard enough to show how and why it is important and interesting.

If you develop the ability to bring this information back to Earth and think about how it can be useful to you, you will find the content much more interesting.

And if you try and still can't find a reason you're interested in, raise your hand and ask the teacher for an explanation.

They should anyway. If not, ask them: Why do I need to know? (Do it in a polite and well-intentioned way, of course.)

13. Look for practice tests

If your course has a test at the end, you will need to take mock tests in preparation.

So what about asking for a practice test during class?

Practice tests are some of the most productive.ways to spend your study time. They are extremely relevant to your exams and simulate the study conditions you are likely to encounter on your actual exam.

In fact, taking a learning practice test during class will further help simulate learning conditions. You are with other students, trapped in a room as you are now.

if you do not wantbeginproof testing now, that's fine. You can add a collection of practice tests to your favorites or download them for later when you are ready to study.

When you pass a class or take a test, you can go home feeling like you accomplished something with your invested time.

14. Find blog posts on the topic and let them teach you instead

I've found that blogs and websites are the best sources of content that are easy to read and understand.

They often provide information in a list of publications rather than in the style of magazine articles.

This way you get the information in bite-sized chunks. Everything is divided into easy-to-read headings. And best of all, you don't have to read heavy, hard-to-read paragraphs written in an academic style.

To give you an idea of ​​the types of topic-oriented blog posts that provide scientific information in an easy-to-read style, here are a few I've written:

  • 37+ most important facts about behaviorism
  • 13+ pros and cons of unstructured game-based learning

Just a quick warning.

While websites and blog posts can be excellent sources of information,must not be mentioned in your submitted work.

Instead, you should focus on citing only academic sources, such as textbooks and journal articles.

Use blog posts to learn, but not to quote information.

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15. Start a blog

Sitting in lectures is depressingpassive learning. You have to sit there and listen to the dusty old professor talk on and on.

There are some much better alternatives.

One is "active learning", in which realdo somethingto learn. Active learning can include getting work experience, talking to friends, or doing experiments.

But one approach to active learning could be blogging.

Believe me, as a blogger you learn a lot!

So why not start a blog about everything you learn? You can try writing about the conference topic in a way that you think is more engaging and entertaining.

Use this time to set one up. It's super easy! Visit wordpress.com to set it up for free in minutes and start writing down all your thoughts and reflections.

And if you decide to blog about your topic, you help others. People who don't understand what their teacher is talking about all the time on google blog information. If you explain it clearly, people will sign up and read your stuff!

Another advantage of this is that you can show your future employer your blog as proof of your initiative and knowledge of the topics you will be working on.

It's a win-win-win. Your conference will be less boring because you are doing something exciting; you learn things by actively writing blog posts on topics; and you can show the blog to potential employers!

16. Search for a new major online

If you really get bored of the lectures, maybe you chose the wrong study or specialization?

Consider searching online for a new specialization that might suit you better.

I recommend that you start by looking for a new field of study at the same university you are currently at. It is almost always easier to change direction within the same university than it is to change universities.

When you change colleges, you'll have to jump through hoops to earn transfer points for courses you've already completed.

Also, colleges often limit the number of credits you can transfer, making it difficult to switch colleges after your freshman year.

So think about it: What other interests did you consider before choosing your current degree or major?

For me, they were European languages. I studied education to become a teacher, but if I had the time again, I probably would have chosen to study European languages.

For you, you can jump from social science to aHumanitiesmajor or degree in psychology to chemistry.

Do your research, ask your friends, and see what catches your eye and what the career options are for each major you're looking for.

17. Use the time to think about alternatives to studying.

If you are bored of universityalwaysSo maybe you could consider an alternative career path?

This is for you if you read step 16 and didn't think changing your major would make you happier in college.

There are many really interesting and worthwhile alternative paths in life other than the college path.

And the reality is that some of them will end up paying you the same or better than if you had a college degree. Moreover, you earn money much faster and you have less debt!

I wrote a post about itMore than 17 alternatives if university isn't for youif you want to watch it.

Here are some options:

  • exchange
  • Postpone college for a year and take a gap year
  • Join the army or the police
  • Word stewardess
  • to work the ski season

If you like any of those options or want to check out the other 12 I suggested, click that post.

18. Organize your notes

There are two steps I follow when organizing my notes.

I order my paper notes first. Then I sort the notes on the computer.

a) Notes on paper

All the notes I have written on the lecture slides must always be categorized correctly.

I print out the slides from the lectures and scribble notes on them, keeping them for when I need to come back and study them.

This causes many problems. Torn papers, bills mixed up in the wrong order and lots of loose papers lying around.

The most common thing I do (and often between classes) is typing all my handwritten notes to avoid paper as much as possible.

I think the added benefits of typing the notes I've handwritten in previous lectures are:

  • Plugging and rewriting notes helps me solidify my thoughts;
  • My notes end up being transcribed in a cleaner, more understandable way. Part of the rewriting process is also reorganizing and consolidating ideas into categories.

b) Computernotities

If you're like me, my computer is a mess.

My desktop is always full of articles I've downloaded from Google Scholar,

19. Write a study plan

Writing a study plan can help you increase your productivity in the long run.

It's really quite a simple process. Just grab your journal or calendar and set aside some time to study!

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If you don't have a calendar, now's the time to make one!

I usually start my study plan by thinking about my goals:

  • How many hours a week do I think I need to study?
  • Which weeks do I have to study extra? This is usually weeks before the exam.
  • When is the most productive time to fit it all in?

The most productive moments for me are usually:

  • In between classes when I'm on college campus;
  • The mornings I have off work;
  • When I'm home alone so I can spend some quiet time without distractions.

So these are the moments I try to block in my agenda!

My goal is to set aside at least an hour, preferably two hours, to really focus on my work.

I'll start with the intermediate timesconferences and seminars. Do you have an hour or two between classes after this class?

Why not create that study calendar and apply it right away?

After this lecture you can go to the library and start your first scheduled study session!

20. Consider Leaving (Respectfully and Politely)

Look, I've never done this. But it's an option.

I remember once there was a lecture that was so boring that about 50% of my class walked out.

I felt too rude to leave so I lived the whole thing.

But if you're the only one (or the first) to do it, you can pretend you have a dentist appointment.

Look around you. What is the best escape route with minimal disruption?

Did you manage to sit close enough to the edge that you didn't have to apologize and give everyone a high-five as you walked by?

Is there an exit at the back so you don't have to walk all the way to the front and everyone can see you walking?

If you're feeling very polite, you can email your teacher: “Hi, sorry I had to leave in the middle of today. I received a message to pick up my sick niece from her school.”

What's a white lie when you can do something better with your time?

21. Qualify your teacher!

As a teacher, I always worry that my students will rate me the worst.

I am very proud of a good grade and teachers take bad feedback very seriously.

So consider leavingrate my teacherand leave a negative review about them... but only if they really suck. This can help the next student avoid choosing this class and getting bored like you.

But if it's just this conference, and last week's one was actually pretty decent, maybe put the heat down.

Part 2: Fun things to do

I like my friends to read my posts before I post them.

And most of my friends said something like:

“Chris, people probably just want to hear fun things to do at a boring conference. They are not interested in learning.”

So look... who am I to deny people what they really want?

So I've listed some fun time wasting things to do at the conference in case you don't want to… you know, study.

Here are the ideas people have shared with me:

45+ Things to Do at a Boring Conference (2023) (1)

  1. Write an email or WhatsApp message to your mom (she probably missed you. When was the last time you emailed her?)
  2. Update your profile pictures on social networks
  3. I mean, when else do you have an hour of boring boredom to close your eyes and shut out the world?
  4. Catch up with old friends from high school and see what they're doing with their lives now.
  5. Download Duolingo and start learning the language yourself.
  6. Speel Candy Crush Saga.
  7. Play Plants Vs. Zombies (remember that game?)
  8. Browse the job search website for your dream job.
  9. Make memes about how boring lectures are and post them on Reddit.
  10. Play tic tac toe with your neighbor.
  11. Come up with a new recipe and buy the ingredients on the way home. Use Pinterest for inspiration.
  12. Try a new superhero. What will their superpowers be?

Yhere's the messagefull of fun craft ideas that I came up with out of boredom in class. It's for school kids, not college students...but there are some really fun things adults would love to do.

My favorite ideas about 'bored in classpublication are:

  1. Create a new signature for yourself.
  2. Make a jumble (also known as the "origami paper game," "salt shaker," or "cookie catcher").
  3. Make an origami ninja star.
  4. Create a flip story with your neighbor.
  5. Learn to Draw: Try thinking of a new emoji to show how bored you feel right now.
  6. Learn calligraphy. The post shows you a video with the basics of calligraphy mentioned there.
  7. Draw an "S" for Superman
  8. Play the Wikipedia game '5 minutes for Jesus'
  9. Write a nice haiku poem
  10. design a new tattoo for you
  11. Make the plan of your dream house.
  12. Try to draw a perfect circle.

Feel free to share any additional ideas you have in the comments box below and I'll add them to the list!

Chris Drew (dr.sc.)

web page |+ publications

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Teacher program. He holds a doctorate in educational sciences and has published more than 20 articles in scientific journals. He is a former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.


What to do during boring lectures? ›

List of 103 Things To Do When You Are Bored in Class
  • Write a note to a friend.
  • Draw or doodle.
  • Take notes and go off on a tangent.
  • Write a to-do list.
  • Sketch someone in your classroom.
  • Make a list of ideas for your next adventure.
  • Write a gratitude list.
  • Send a mental message to someone.
Jan 26, 2023

How do you pass time in boring lecture? ›

How to Pass Time in Class
  1. 1 Listen actively and take notes.
  2. 2 Interact in class and ask questions.
  3. 3 Illustrate your notes.
  4. 4 Complete your homework for another class.
  5. 5 Organize and create a to-do list.
  6. 6 Doodle in the margins of your notebook.
  7. 7 Read something interesting.
  8. 8 Engage in some creative writing.

How do you sit through a long lecture? ›

During class
  1. Situate yourself for success. For in-person classes, if it helps, try sitting near the front of the class to stay engaged. ...
  2. Take good notes. ...
  3. Stay focused. ...
  4. Actively listen. ...
  5. Test yourself. ...
  6. Summarize. ...
  7. Revisit your notes. ...
  8. Create a study guide.


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