Posted by: thediygeochemist | January 19, 2010

staying awake

I have always been a “mover and shaker”–literally. I can’t sit still. In elementary school I used to annoy people next to me by fidgeting, tapping my fingers on the desk, and so on. If I’m not actively doing something which involves body movement, I fall asleep. Thus, staying awake in class has been a problem for me since high school.

If I were better-coordinated, I would knit or crochet to keep myself moving. Alas, those who have tried to teach me to knit or crochet in the past flung up their hands in horror after half an hour or so and declared me hopeless.

After sleeping through lecture for the first two years of undergrad, I discovered my salvation: the New York Times crossword puzzle. I’d buy big books and work crosswords as I listened to my profs. If I didn’t have my crossword book with me, I’d doodle like mad; my note paper would be 2/3 doodles and only 1/3 notes. So crosswords were much preferable to doodling. And yes, I *can* listen, take notes, and do crosswords simultaneously.

Now, in my second incarnation as a student, my puzzle of choice is Killer Sudoku. (These are something of a mix between Kakuro and Sudoku. You can play online here or print out puzzles from KrazyDad.)

I still think I should learn to knit or crochet so I can do something useful, but in the mean time puzzles are very good at keeping me alert and attentive.

By the way, I’m curious: how do you stay awake in class, or is this not a problem for you? C’mon, readers, I know you exist–my blog gets tons of reads every day. Leave a comment and give me ideas in case I get bored doing Killer Sudoku.



  1. I take notes like mad. It’s the only thing that sorta, kinda keeps my attention on the lecture…I might have to pursue some ADD meds soon, because taking notes is becoming less and less effective.

  2. I agree. I generally have at least one class where I can barely take notes fast enough to keep up with the professor. I never have trouble staying awake in those classes.

  3. well here in India, we perform a snake chant and make the professor go to sleep… just kidding…

    Well there are 2 possible ways that i found really really work well:
    1) a hot bath before the lecture
    2) Have the prof. taking the lecture become your advisor.. this method works 100% of the time 🙂

  4. I agree about taking copious notes but sometimes I will lose track of what the professor is saying if I am focusing on writing down everything. I prefer a tape recorder and then asking tons of real questions or making comments to classmates about the lecture (which also helps keep them engaged in the class).

  5. […] this was a comment on several of my actual progress reports–I hadn’t learned how to manage that yet. Needless to say, I panicked when I saw these in […]

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