Speak Up! How to Survive Class as a First-Time College Student

Taking college courses for the first time can be nerve-wracking and is often an adjustment for many people. If you’re like many other students, it’s been awhile since you’ve been in a classroom and you may find it difficult to speak up in class. Don’t feel bad – you will be able to overcome this.

Participating in class is important because it truly enhances your overall learning experience and can help increase your overall GPA, as many grades are often weighted on participation. Here are some helpful tips on getting over the fear of speaking up:

1. Try taking a class with someone you feel comfortable with.

If you do this, it will make the atmosphere a little more comfortable and you can also feed off each other in discussion. When it comes to online classes, write discussion posts then have a friend or family member review it and see if they find it interesting or intriguing. If they do, chances are someone studying the same course will.

2. Remember: You're all in it together.

It’s important to remember you are all in the classroom for the same reason: to better your future.

No one is in class to judge you or think your opinion is invalid. The more you tell yourself this, the better you will feel. Also, as many instructors say, chances are if you have a question about something so does someone else in the room.

The same goes for online students. Even if someone does not respond to a discussion post at least you were able to put your thoughts out there. There is no one sitting in front of the computer laughing at the screen because you do not have any responses.

3. Be as prepared as possible.

The more prepared for class you are, the more comfortable you will feel with speaking up.

It is easy to put off readings and not dust off your book (or turn on your e-Book) until the week of an exam. However, if you look over the chapters and keep up with the readings (even if you just skim them), you will have a better understanding of what is going to be discussed in class ahead of time. In addition, it will help you brainstorm questions and provide answers in class.

If you are more of an introvert – someone who needs time to let the information sink in and develop questions later – preparing before class will help you participate in class and allow you to think of your questions and answers in a timelier manner.

Participating in these three suggestions are three realistic ways to make your involvement in class more comfortable, and can help you achieve a higher grade. How do you get over the fear of speaking up?  Tell us by commenting below. 

Allison Bieniek

Allison Bieniek is a digital marketing intern at Rasmussen College in the Twin Cities office. She is currently a senior at the University of Saint Thomas and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and Management.

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