Question One from the Sleep-Deprived Sophomore:

“Dear Maria,

How do I stay awake in class? I have a particularly boring professor, and I’m hoping you would have a few suggestions on how I can pay attention.


Sleep-Deprived Sophomore”

First off, thank you for your question, Sleep-Deprived. I always appreciate getting them, so keep ‘em coming!

Second, I wouldn’t start off by calling your professor boring. I think that’ll just be frowned upon.

Lastly, my advice is to bring coffee, and LOTS of it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an avid coffee drinker. Hey! There’s another fun fact about me.

Now, I can honestly say this is not the cheapest route (I’m already out of dining dollars and I started with $100 at the beginning of the semester. I blame those milkshakes at Einstein’s. They’re just so damn good.) Anyhow, if coffee is not in your wheelhouse (for some people it’s not) I would go with water. I feel like whenever I bring water to class, I’m somehow more attentive and alert. I think it’s because you kind of keep yourself busy with something that doesn’t distract you. I don’t know, but it works for me.

Other than beverages, you can go to class with the intention of paying attention. Bring your notes, pencils, laptop, what not and try to focus. Now I know it’s hard to resist the illustriousness of the Internet, but do try. I usually keep all my tabs open on Firefox, but when I need to get actual work done, I close them. Pinterest, Facebook, and even Tumblr. They all go bye-bye.

Try to sit closer to the front of class if you feel you just can’t resist them all. Maybe if the professor is less than 10 feet from you, you’ll be more inclined to keep your notes up on the screen.

In regards to having a boring professor, that’s unfortunate. I’d like to think CNU has some amazing people employed here. So try a little harder to listen to them, talk to them after class and review a few things if need be. I know they can sometimes sound like the adults in Peanuts’ cartoons (Wah-wah-wah, wah-wah), but you’re paying quite a chunk of change to go here so you might as well try to show up and pay attention in class.

If all of that doesn’t work, I don’t know what you could do. Maybe resort to the osmosis theory of learning and sleep on your textbook in class. Hopefully something will sink in.

How to Solve a Problem like Maria: Introducing the one, the only…

Q: “Tell me about yourself.”

A: I never know how to respond to this, no matter how many times I hear it. I mean, I could say:
“Well, I’m Maria. I hail from this little place called NOVA. Maybe you’ve heard of it. I spend way too much of my time on the Internet, and Netflix by extension. I listen to weird Indie music that no one has ever really heard of. I have a list of movies and shows that I love and will never stop talking about. As for major, I am so far past Undecided I can’t even see it in my rearview mirror. Oh, and I have a cat.”
If that’s what I told people every time I introduced myself, I’m pretty sure they’d run in terror. No one wants a 100-word monologue from a random person they’ve just met, particularly if that person mentions cats.
However I, Maria Scaptura, will be writing a helpful and probably ridiculous advice column for all you lovely folks who read The Captain’s Log called “How to Solve a Problem Like Maria.” You know, ‘cause my name’s Maria… never mind. I thought it was cute. Now, my editor said I have to write a snippet introducing myself to you all. A 500-word snippet. This would probably be the point where you run screaming.
But back to me. Like I said, I’m Maria. I worked on my high school newspaper for three years, and was Editor my senior year. I also worked with the yearbook for two years, but that just gave me more time to work on the newspaper. Yeah, I can honestly say I was a newspaper nerd. Any free minute I had at school was spent in our newsroom. Lunches, after school, my government class… all there. I’d spend five hours straight looking at the computer screen. Not that anything has really changed much now that I’m at college. I still spend hours looking at my computer screen, but now it’s just all on Netflix or homework. Yeah, let’s say homework. My adviser would be proud.
Anyhow, there’s a little glimpse into my high school life (pretty sad, I know). Fast-forward six months and I’m here, at CNU. Honestly, I picked this school because it was nice to look at and flat. Quite honestly, I expected the weather to be nicer, but after the past few weeks, I don’t know anymore. I’m in the Honors Program, and I have ever-so-recently joined Greek life as a member of Alpha Delta Pi (shine bright girls). That’s about it. I haven’t done much else yet, but I’m only on my second semester. I still don’t have a major—and, Lord help me, I better find one sometime soon.
Other little things that might be fun to know about me: I used to play bass guitar (like a badass). I went to Disney World over winter break with my best friend, and I really like vegetables but hate almost all fruit. I know. It’s weird. I have lots of weird eating habits, but that’s a whole other discussion.
This column will be published weekly on a blog of some sort, but every month or so, it will be published in the Lifestyle section of the paper, so look out for that. I will be taking questions, quandaries, predicaments or whatever is weighing you down, so just email or tweet at me: [email protected] or @seriouslyscappy.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to be answering some of your questions soon!