Oh winter exams. As if the looming holidays isn’t distraction enough, trying to keep yourself cooped up in front of a desk for hours on end trying to study seems to be the perfect way to discover just how entertaining everything else in the world can be. If you’re really trying to focus, and have 45 minutes left before your final, may I suggest not reading the following list? For the rest of you who are ready for a study break (or seven) here are the top ten study distractions:
If you don’t have likealittle.com at your school yet, I don’t really know what to compare it to. It needs a category of it’s own. It’s a site where users go on to a special section for their area or school. There, they post “missed connections” messages to people they see on campus that they are attracted to. They just launched a section for my school and I know everyone seems to be addicted to it. The page gets updated every five seconds, sometimes with serious posts, sometimes with jokes, and most of the time with downright creepy ones. Whether you take it seriously, or just check it out to ridicule, it’s seriously addictive.
Listening, discovering, downloading; if you want it to, music can eat up hours of your time. Some people study well with some soft music in the background to tune out any other sounds. Other people use their iPod as an excuse to escape for a minute, or maybe 30. Maybe you didn’t feel to need to download Willow’s Whip my Hair and various remixes up until now, but suddenly, it seems so much more important than finishing that novel you were supposed to read in October.
Google can be an efficient study tool. Wait, let me rephrase that: it can be a study tool. It can also be a phenomenal waste of time. So, you hit the search engine to look up the dates that a French king was in rule. Simple fact, two seconds, right? But then when you’re surfing his Wikipedia page, you find all this other info, like that he had one of his wives beheaded, and then you’re looking at the history of the guillotine and then all of a sudden you’re on an Alice in Wonderland page with the quotes about “off with her head” and then…you get the picture.
7. Online Games
Sure maybe you complained when your boyfriend got addicted to Call of Duty, and claimed video games were such a wate of time. But, suddenly, that Facebook Jetman game or online word game seem surprisingly tempting. Hey, it’s a good mental break for one round right? Until you have the top score among all your friends and it’s 3 am. Yeah, that happens.
I’ve heard from others that they do this too, so it’s not just my OCD-side showing. Sure, it’s a good idea to tidy your study space and get all your notes organized before cracking the books, but it can easily lead to cleaning your whole bedroom, and then vaccuuming the hallway, and then…well, let’s just say if you’re cleaning your roommate’s bathroom closet, you’ve gone too far, my friend.
Luckily nobody makes phone calls anymore (unless, of course, your Mom is calling), but that doesn’t stop your phone from buzzing every six seconds with other equally-distracted (or worse, already exam-free) friends. Think turning off your phone will free you? Only if you live on your own, otherwise your roommates, floormates, or even randoms in the library will suddenly be tempting you with the most scintilating conversation you’ve had in decades. Sorry, chemistry, this girl in the cubicle next to me just discovered that if you eat all the Skittles flavours at once, it tastes like a watermelon slushie.
Okay, maybe you’re not cracking open a Batman (or maybe you are), but it seems like everyday someone is introducing me to a new widely funny, and scarily addictive online web comic, like The Oatmeal, or Hark, A Vagrant. If you’re lucky enough to have read every comic already, you might only lose a few minutes checking the latest updates or reliving your favourites. If, however, you’re new to the site…well, we just can’t help you, and we’re sorry.
This one kind of ties in with Google and music. I know when I’m dying to get a song out of my head, I’ll head to YouTube to listen real quick before hitting the books again. But then YouTube recommends another video, and then another, and before you know it you’ve seen so many babies dancing to The Dog Days Are Over you’re starting to mimic their moves. Very dangerous territory.
Ahem, sorry. Hopefully ECG doesn’t top your list as a waste of time (hey, you’re learning something, right?) but we, and our fellow blogs, can be a wee bit distracting. This is especially true if you have five or six in your daily roster, and they all update multiple times a day, and they all have links in their posts to other sites that you have to check out because the description sounds so good. Or, of course, there are humour blogs like Failblog or Awkward Family Photos, which have so much content, you could spend the entire exam period on one site alone. But, please don’t.
1. Facebook and Twitter
If you didn’t see this coming, you’re not in college. No matter how many times a day I check my Twitter or Facebook, it always seems to be the same old crap, and yet, I always wind up back on there after I read a chapter or two. Maybe it’s just a part of our college culture, maybe it helps us feel more connected, or maybe we just want to see if anyone tags any cute photos of us from last weekend. No matter what, there is a reason why so many students ask their BFF to change their password for the duration of the exam season, and it’s not for kicks and giggles.
Not everyone has a cat, including myself, so I wasn’t sure where it fit on the list. However, based on my experience using a computer in the vicinity of my brother’s cat, combined with tales of adorable horror from my feline-owning friends, and the ridiculous number of cat photos I found trying to look up “study distraction” when researching this article, I couldn’t just gloss over them. From snuggling up with your laptop, to playing fetch with your pen, to just being so fricking cute you gotta give a belly rub, kitties may potentially be the most lethal of study distractions. While hitting the books, I would look into getting a kitty-sitter. May I suggest me?
What Do You Think?
What tops your list of study distractions? Did I just give you 10x more distractions to keep you from getting your work done (sorry)? Leave a comment and let me know!