How to Stay Alert in All of Your Classes: High School Students Share Strategies on How to Remain Attentive

Samantha Simons

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By Samantha Simons

Staff Writer

Going into your next period class can cause a student to have very mixed feelings of stress and fatigue. Whether it is because of a major upcoming test or just another day of notes, students have a growing issue of staying awake in class. There is one thing students should always have caution against: falling asleep in class.

Falling asleep can have consequences such as detention or missing information that later appears on a test. For this reason, it is important to stay focused. High school students share their experiences and advice to help you stay awake in class.


“I generally always drink water—that’s a constant, and I can’t sleep while drinking water so there’s that. I also click my pen sometimes, but people don’t like that.”

  • Sophomore Leah Whearty


“Really try to find something interesting that you like in each of your classes. The more you are invested and care about what you are learning about, the easier it’ll be to pay attention and stay awake, and focused.”

  • Senior Greg Bond

“I focus in class by blocking out the noise around me and thinking [about] how I would be able to explains the topics to other people.”

  • Sophomore Katherine Duseau

“I find taking notes helps, just the action of writing things down helps me focus on what is being said and keeps my mind from wandering/dozing. Also I am a fidgety person so if I have something to fiddle with (like a pencil or a paper clip or anything) that helps me focus and keeps me from getting restless or completely zoning out and sleeping.”

  • Senior Haley DiMartino

“I try to focus on what the teacher is talking about, that usually works for me.”

  • Sophomore Brendan Cormier

“I usually divide the time I have left for the class into increments (5 seconds, 10 seconds, or 15 seconds, etc.) and it usually works since it keeps my mind focused on the time and it allows me to look towards the end of the class instead of having it drag on.”

  • Sophomore Jared Schmitt

“If I’m about to fall asleep, I just tell myself that I’ll get in trouble if I fall asleep, so I get scared and I don’t.”

  • Sophomore Sara Stranahan


“Usually I draw little doodles because it stimulates my brain and gets me focused on something I want to focus on for a little bit before getting back to focusing on the class. I chew gum to stay awake too because it keeps me physically going, so I don’t fall asleep.”

  • Sophomore Aaron Suttle

“In class I usually doodle on my papers as it helps me to keep my mind and body active even in the slightest way and since I am occupied with something to do that helps keep me awake.”

  • Freshman Emily Tomasetti

“I usually doodle in my notebook as I’m listening to lectures because it helps me focus. I end up with 7,000 swirls and flowers next to my notes, but that’s okay. I also look at the clock and keep reminding myself that I only have to get through 10 minutes 7 times.”

  • Senior Emily Hurwitz


“Writing down song lyrics helps me stay awake in class because it involves a lot of memory and active thinking, and it involves songs I love.”

  • Freshman Abby Malone


Even in seemingly boring classes, it is absolutely possible to tap into your interests to keep you-and your mind-awake and alert.

Methods such as drawing, drinking water, attempting to focus, or writing down song lyrics can help any student become more alert and focused in their classes.

By staying alert in class, students will save their sleeping for when it is appropriate: at night. Even the activities that seem miniscule and unrelated can be a tremendous help in attempting to retain the information learnt in class. Rather than letting your mind drift off, forget about that nap and take these small steps to pay attention and there will be a big leap in staying attentive in class.