First of all, I’d like to say happy Tuesday to those students who are on break (myself included). Hopefully, this weekend was productive and relaxing for all of us.
My first year was spent sitting in the balconies of Convocation Hall trying to hear the professor over the hum of a thousand Macbook screens tuned to Facebook. Coming into a class of a thousand people, it’s intimidating to go and take a seat in the front row – the people who sat there seemed like flesh-eating competitive life science students from afar. Plus, sitting in front of the professor was a terrifying prospect. What if they saw me eating a burger, reading Archie comics, or playing Minesweeper? So, up in the balconies I stayed for most of first year – as do most students. But then second year came around and I felt it was time for a change. Why not sit up in the front for once, give it a shot? I’ll admit getting to the front was difficult the first lecture. It was a mad dash.
But you know – everybody is serious on the first day of school: books out, thinking glasses on, handy dandy notebooks available. Then, after a few days, about 1/3 of the course returns to sleeping in, playing video games and watching Gossip Girl. After a few weeks, I can tell you that I have seen the light. Sitting in the front of the class (keener row as some may call it) is an amazing experience. You walk out of that lecture hall, feeling like you’ve learned something, feeling like you get the material, like you’re going to ace the exam. Mostly, you walk out feeling like this:
At U of T, where large classes are common place for some first year courses — it can be sometimes frustrating and difficult to get the most optimal learning experience in a class of 1,200, especially if you’re up in one of the balconies. There is one thing you as a student that can do to remedy this a little – move to the front. If not the front row, then as close to the front as possible – it’s one way you can stimulate a small class size experience in a large class. What I found after spending a few weeks sitting in the front is that not only did I get more out of the course, because I understood the material better, I enjoyed the lecture more and that made it a lot easier to get through. As I have said in the past, students, myself included should get involved with their education and pursue their interests both inside and outside the classroom. Sitting in the front of the lecture to get more of that good knowledge is part of that.
So go ahead, sit in the front. The people don’t bite.