The Patriot In-Depth: Coping with Boredom

Junior Camille Smith sits tiredly in her first class of the day, trying to concentrate on what is being taught. When it’s the first class of the day and Smith isn’t doing anything interactive or interesting, the class becomes boring to her.

“I’m most bored in the classes I’m not really interested in, and it doesn’t help when they’re the first class of the day because I’m already tired,” Smith said. “When I’m bored in class, I always try really hard to concentrate.”

According to the survey of JC students conducted by The Patriot on Oct. 15, students found religion to be the most boring subject area. History followed in second with math trailing shortly behind. On the other side of things, electives are seen as the most interesting classes, and foreign language is the second most interesting.

Besides Smith, other students suffer from boredom as well, and not just in the first class of the day.

For some students, like junior Scott Walczyk, boredom depends on how early or late it is in the week. The closer it is to the end of the week, the more students are looking forward to the weekend, which causes them to not want to pay attention in class.

“Boredom just distracts the students and the later in the week it is, the more bored students seem to get. In the beginning of the week, fewer people are bored, but towards the end, up to about half of the class can be bored,” Walczyk said.

According to The Patriot survey, students are most bored in the middle of the day, but also extremely bored in the morning and end of the day.

Boredom mainly occurs when students are doing something in class that isn’t one of their interests, and freshman Zach Miller agrees.

“For me, it all depends on what we’re doing in the class. If we’re reading a book that isn’t so good, the class becomes boring and it seems to slow down,” Miller said.

Smith agrees with Miller, and she always likes to be doing something interesting in her classes. “I’m never bored in chemistry class because we are always doing something fun, like experiments,” Smith said.


When students are bored, normally their first reaction is to take out their laptop. In response to a The Patriot survey, 80% of students said that when they were bored they checked their email. 30.9% said they visit social media and internet sites when they are bored.

“I think the laptops help stop most students’ boredom,” Smith said.

While laptops can help the students overcome boredom, they also are a big distraction. “The laptops make more distractions. What’s on the computer is always more interesting than what is being taught. Edmodo isn’t as interesting as Facebook,” English teacher Matthew Blair said.

English teacher Eric Sutton agrees with Blair. “We can’t make school as interesting as the Internet. There are always so many more alternatives for students once they’re on their laptops,” Sutton said.

40.4% of students who responded to The Patriot survey said that they are either very, extremely, or always bored in class.

“When someone is bored, they are more focused on their laptops, and he or she tends to not look up at all. Laptops don’t make students bored, but it makes it harder to get focused again. It gets us interested in something other than class, like sports scores, games, or whatever seems to keep someone’s interest,” Walczyk said.

“I think every student gets bored at times, and we all handle boredom differently,” Smith said.


Everyone is bored at times. But can boredom be a serious problem? Can it be considered a disease?

According to The Patriot survey, 21.5% of students think that boredom is either a big, extreme, or constant problem.

Boredom or lack of interest is known to put people at a higher risk of many serious mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, drug addiction, eating disorders, and bad grades explains Anna Gosline, the writer of “Bored to Death: Chronically Bored People Exhibit Higher Risk-Taking Behavior” in Scientific American. However, boredom is not proven to directly cause any of these disorders.

It is possible to have existential boredom. This means that a person is harder to engage and it is harder hold his or her interest. Gosline explains that this chronic boredom comes from a chemical imbalance, and if a person has chronic boredom he or she will exhibit risk-taking behaviors.

This need for more excitement can lead to reckless actions or a drug addiction. Gosline says that is why it is important for teenagers, who are developing skills that will be used in adulthood, to know how to avoid boredom.


Boredom can be a serious problem for many students. However, there are ways to cope with boredom or even use it as an advantage.

Some JC students use boredom of the topic at hand to take a break from their current classes. “When I’m bored in class or just in general, I try to get homework finished or study for other tests,” freshman Zach Miller said.

In fact, 49.1% of students who responded to The Patriot survey said they do homework when they are bored.

But boredom is not usually a positive factor in academic achievement. It can distract students from learning information they will need to know, whether it be instructions or facts that they will be tested on.

Senior Emily Street estimates that about half the students in the average class are bored at any given time. According to her, many of her classmates are not interested in what they are learning, which leads to them not doing their work.

The best way for students to avoid boredom is to take classes that interest them. While that is not always possible, participating in class and taking detailed notes can help keep students on task.

Although boredom is normal for everyone, students can perform better in school if they make an effort to stay interested and not drift off into dreamland. “I just try to pay attention. I keep in mind that if I don’t pay attention it will affect me negatively in the long run,” Street said.

Nicole Arrison and Madison Meyer are In-Depth Editors for The Patriot and