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Entertaining Things I Did During University Lectures That You Shouldn't Do: An Anecdotal Record


Written By Thomas Giblin (he/him) @thegreengiblin | Entertainment Editor

Whether you study arts or science, there is a universal truth in how students avoid the tedium of learning through entertaining themselves in the oddest ways. A table tucked away in the corner of the library, a freshers’ club your friends dragged you to, or the campus mini-mart can define the university experience. We all grow from specky-faced teens to mature adults who file taxes and drink corked wine. Soon, the hours spent in frigid or mouldy lecture halls will be nostalgic; the oppressive stillness of a drearily long class is sacred.

How did you entertain yourself during these lectures?

During my four years at university, I spent hundreds of hours doing anything but taking notes in dozens of different ways. There’d always come a point in any lecture where my eyes and brain would wander, desperate for an ounce of drama or thrill. As I reminisce on what I did to entertain myself during my lectures, I’ve compiled a cautionary tale of things not to do. Falling asleep or doom-scrolling TikTok is acceptable, but giving yourself caffeine poisoning is not.

Vice Vice Baby

We all have our vices, from social smoking and online shopping to over-indulgence in junk food. Like many other students who stay up late playing computer games or binge-watching Netflix, caffeine is the elixir of my life, a potion that cures sleep deprivation. Students must struggle perpetually. Instead of pushing a rock up a hill, it is a persistent struggle against the absurdity of a 9AM lecture. We accept our fate and find respite in our vices. My vice as I lumbered up Symonds Street has always been caffeine served, as an ice-cold energy drink or an overpriced coffee.

I’d always walk into a lecture with a half-finished Blue V, Monster Energy Zero Ultra or Oat Milk Flat White. Groggily, with my eyes finally bringing the world into focus, I’d find an empty seat. My preferred row, halfway down the left, would never be full. There’d only be a smattering of familiar faces zombified by the time.

My reliance on caffeine imposed by late nights hurrying to finish assignments eventually caught up to me. This self-prescribed opiate, which came in a luminous can or beige cup, had its vengeance. As the lecturer droned on about the specifics of an upcoming assignment, I began to feel dizzy, and my stomach began to rumble. I’d not slept as I’d left an essay and the banality of referencing to the last minute. Instead of supplementing my late night and early morning with a tasty, nutritious breakfast, I had even more caffeine.

Per the internet, you shouldn’t consume more than 400 milligrams per day, and I’d not heeded that warning. So, as I began to feel even closer to death, my heart thundered as I knew that this was it. If I was sick in the lecture hall, I couldn’t live with the embarrassment—it’d follow me around like the curse of Sodom and Gomorrah. If I could escape to the bathroom from my lecture in time, I’d be ashamed - but at the very least, I’d have some dignity left.

Did I make it? That’s a secret, but please take this lesson of idiocy to heart. Sleep well, eat healthy and don’t think caffeine is the answer to all your problems.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

We’ve all developed a crush on a classmate. You may sit across from them in a tutorial, or be assigned to work together on a presentation. Many crushes start in the sanctum of a lecture hall. You’d turn up to class not wanting to learn but hoping to catch a glimpse of them. If they hadn’t turned up, fate had personally slighted you.

I’ve had plenty of these one-sided crushes. They all start innocuously, but they grew, and nothing good or healthy came from them. Your meet-cute will never come from them sitting next to you in class or when you saw each other at Countdown. You’re setting yourself up for heartbreak. It’s 2024, the year of the dragon, and we can do better than unrequited love. If you’re that desperate to meet someone, download Tinder or try Bar 101 on a Saturday night.

Mogadishu is the Capital of Somalia

If you have the misfortune of knowing me, you’ll know I love my weird and wonderful facts. The Yangtze River in China is the third-longest river in the world. Chainsaws were first invented for childbirth. Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812. I’m often insufferable because of this useless knowledge.

During lectures, I’d often indulge in my thirst for knowledge by spending hours going down Wikipedia rabbit holes. In mere moments, I’d have spent the entire class traversing subjects ranging from the Terra Nova Expedition to the last photo of the Barbary Lion and how the microwave oven was invented.

I Spy

When you get bored in a lecture, your eyes begin to meander, searching for anything interesting. Like on a long-haul flight, you often end up watching the screen in front of you. It’s a thrill. Who knows what you’re going to see? This invasion of privacy shouldn’t be encouraged, but we’ve all done things we shouldn’t have. Instead of knuckling down and working hard, I peeped at the laptop screen or phone of the person in front of me for most of the class.

Sometimes, your gaze should be kept to yourself as for all the exciting glimpses into someone’s life I’ve seen, I’ve witnessed untold horrors that left me scarred. Fan fiction, cringeworthy love letters, creepy dating app pick-up lines, and an incel’s Reddit posts. My life would have been better off not discovering the YouTube channel of a classmate who tried to debunk the male gaze. Yes, you can peek at someone’s screen to copy their notes but don’t look at someone’s screen if you’re not willing to risk witnessing your classmate sexting.


You’re paying thousands for an education. Try to make the most of your degree, unlike me. If you don’t take full advantage of the university and its resources, be warned: you may end up working at a student magazine in your mid-20s.


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