Boring lectures and seminars: How to do anything but work

Because you didn’t come to university to learn

It’s a sad fact that “boring lecture” is almost a tautology.

Before coming to uni, no doubt you had grand hopes of discussing your favourite topic in your subject with wise lecturers and hearing about their deep research into fascinating areas.

What you’re more likely to have worked out by this point is that you can go to literally no lectures all year, any year, and still get a solid 2:1.

Even if you haven’t, there’s almost definitely at least one module that you regret taking or have had forced upon you as compulsory, and you’re finding that each lecture is intensely dull.

Surely they can’t expect us to do any actual work in here?

And some of the seminars – you’re sitting there with no idea what the seminar leader just said about the historical quantum mechanical implications of Virgil’s take on the works of Charles Dickens (or something) and you just want to shrink into your chair and wait for it all to be over.

Now, you have two options. You can skip every lecture and seminar, and you’ll probably be fine, but you’ll probably get some irritable emails from the university demanding that you come back and justify the £9000 you’re paying them, or…

Play games on your laptop

Some people take their laptops into seminars and lectures to take notes. A much more useful thing to do is perfecting your Solitaire skills.

Quick thinking and pattern recognition is probably more useful in the long run than understanding how the Ancient Greeks believed you were full of bile anyway.

Yes, ladies, that is my high-score. Don’t all rush me at once 

Send rogue Snapchats

If in doubt, share your suffering. With your Snapchat best friends and story alike. Everyone wants to see that you’re in the middle of a lecture, right?

And if you take a video, you can watch it yourself later and overhear about 8 seconds of the lecturer talking and get that vital information.

Because clearly everyone looks at their best from this angle at 9am


When you’re running low on battery on your laptop and your phone, it’s time to take it low-tech.

A writing pad makes an excellent sketchpad, and while you’ll start out with stick figures, you keep it up and by the end of the year you’ll be drawing a passable fake of the Mona Lisa. Or slightly more elaborate stick figures.

At least I started and ended with relevant information

Dismantle your stationery

So, you forgot your laptop. Your phone’s dead. You’ve run out of paper to doodle on – or you’re sitting too close to the seminar leader to get away with it. Time to resort to desperate measures. Becoming intimately familiar with the inner workings of your most complex pens and pencils.

See what unscrews, see what pops off, see if you can get the entire lead out of your mechanical pencil without breaking it. Replace the lead in your mechanical pencil when you do.

That’ll take up a good five minutes, plus an extra five minutes if you lose a piece and frantically search your desk and secretively scramble around the floor with your foot trying to locate it.

Pretty much a procrastinator’s wet dream.

Listen to the lecturer

It’s the only thing left. When all delaying tactics have failed, when you can’t squeeze an ounce of amusement out of people-watching or rocking gently on your chair anymore. You’re going to have to learn.

Wait, what was that about fluid dynamics? That’s actually kind of interesting. Wait, you said Nietzsche’s theories are going to be on the exam? That’s good to know. Hold on, let me put my pen back together and find some clean paper…

What your notes would look like if you actually paid attention