The Internet has been a part of our every day lives for decades now, and every day there are more things online to consume at faster speeds.
We use the Internet to watch movies and TV, listen to and download music, make friends, and even find potential love interests.
The International Business Times reported last week that a field test in London achieved the fastest Internet speed ever at 1.4 Terabits, which is the equivalent to 44 HD movies being downloaded in one second.
Since we live in a society where the same machines we use for work can also be used for entertainment, how much distraction is too much?
Some students have to find new and creative ways to maintain their focus while doing work with so many amusing diversions at their fingertips.
“I get distracted all the time. I return to focus with some difficulty, but I generally just keep an eye on the clock and know when assignments are due,“ said Arthur Gregorian, economics.
Architecture student Candace Wu takes a different approach. Wu believes that taking small breaks between work helps to keep the mind fresh.
“I give myself time to check Facebook and go online to take a break from studying for a little while, and then I get back to what I was doing,” said Wu.
“Moderation is the key,” she added. “If you spend too much time studying, you’ll get burned out, so you should take a break every few hours and decompress and then finish what you’re doing.”
Some students have to take extreme measures to make sure that they maintain focus on what their doing.
“I usually just have to turn everything off so that I don’t get distracted. I put my computer under my bed until the work is done,” said Eric Gomez, sociology. “Drink a lot of water, that always calms me down. Find a good study space, don’t call or text anyone and if someone calls you, don’t call them back.
Psychology professor Julie Kiotas warns students on the danger of thinking that they can focus on more than one thing at a time.
“What we think is multitasking is instead something called channel switching,” said Kiotas. “Psychologists have conducted studies and what they found is that we are really only able to fully attend to one thing at a time. Although we think that we are studying, responding to Facebook and texting, we are actually switching channels, very much like switching stations on a television and unable to focus on one thing at a time.”
Kiotas says that in order to truly retain something, students have to process it at a very deep level in which you can make it applicable to them.
“Just reading the textbook isn’t enough, you have to apply the material to your life and try to understand its application in the world,” Kiotas said. “Only then are you likely to remember it long term and make it meaningful to you. And you can’t do that unless you’re fully focused on it.”
Kiotas also stressed the importance of getting started in a timely manner.
“Often times we procrastinate so much at the beginning that if we had begun, we would have been better off just by starting.”
Gregorian has sound advice for people who have a hard time repelling the lure of the numerous diversions online.
“I have friends that constantly play games and leave their assignments until the last minute, but tell them to keep an eye on how much time you have and tell yourself that if you get done early, you’ll have all the free time to go online anyway,” he said.
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