Let’s be clear: the best thing to do in class is to pay attention and take notes. But for the days when just making it to your 9:05 feels like an accomplishment, here are six of the best things you can do in class, that have nothing to do with the class itself:


1Organizing and sorting through emails


If you judged solely by my email, you might think I am the kind of person who has her life together. That little red number next to my mail icon rarely hits double-digits and all of the emails are sorted into appropriate folders–even the ones from Denice Cassaro. This level of email structure has very little to do with my overall desire for organization and everything to do with my boredom during class. Sorting your messages is the perfect way to make the minutes on the clock go a little faster while still feeling like you’re not completely slacking off.


2Maintaining Your Planner


There are some people manage to maintain beautiful, color-coded planners filled with all of their meetings, due dates, and social events. I’ve always wondered who has the time to keep up such works of art. I recently realized their secret: they just do it all during lecture. Their handwriting is so neat and perfect because they have 50 minutes to spend making sure everything is just so. If you prefer digital to paper, class is also a great time to fill out your iCal for the next few months.


3Online Shopping


Considering Ithaca’s relative dearth of clothing stores, online shopping is a frequent occurrence for many Cornellians and the best time to online shop is during class. Looking through my favorite websites for new dresses, even when I have absolutely nothing to wear a dress to, is easy enough to do while half-listening to the lecture. This activity, however, is best done in courses where you don’t mind letting everyone sitting behind you know that exactly what pair of sneakers you’ll be rocking at the gym next week.  


4Filling Out Forms


Whether it’s a doodle poll or a t-shirt order form, I find that people are constantly asking me to fill out forms. When do I fill out the vast majority of these forms? During my least interesting lecture, of course. That way, when I walk out of class, I have one less thing to worry about.


5Making To-Do Lists


To-do lists are the ultimate form of productive procrastination. You feel like you’ve accomplished something, but in reality all of you have done is delay starting your homework by however long you spent making the list. So while you may not have started on any of the three essays you have due next week, at least you know exactly how much you have to stress over.


6Searching for Jobs/Internships


There is something about the Cornell bubble that breeds a constant low-level anxiety that, despite our Ivy League educations, we are all hopelessly unemployable. As a result, another one of my favorite in-class pastimes is browsing Handshake for internships and jobs. While many of the positions may be for roles you aren’t interested in, just the act of looking through them makes you feel like you are working towards your #careergoals.