Just Another Snarky Student Blog

September 18, 2007

Reading for Fun: How to experience time lapsing without hallucinogins

Filed under: college,distraction,fun reading,guilt,reading,school,students,summer reading,time lapsing,unassigned reading — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 4:10 pm

Girl reading a book under the covers

Do you remember the days of summer reading time? Endless library trips? Feeling like summer lasted years?

With all my college school work building up, I’ve been reminiscing about those long sunny days. At any given time, a kid could pick up a book, thumb through it for a couple of hours, and feel a sense of peace. Even though some precious summer time was dedicated to reading, it didn’t feel wasted. Quite the contrary – a bit of reading helped to magnify the greatness of every other summer activity: swimming, hikes, playing with friends and siblings, and simply being outdoors… under the expansive blue sky.

No More.

Ever since entering into college, my “fun reading time” has suffered unimaginably. Just the other day, I could not stand to read about “Literacy in the early 1900s” anymore, and “The development of gendered toys” was making me crazy. I could not stand to read about another GI Joe or dollhouse, and I rolled my eyes at the discussion of how slavery in the south allowed white children more leisure time (don’t get me wrong, all very interesting, but I needed a freakin’ break!).

So I did it.

I picked up an old favorite book I’d been eyeing on my shelf – The Running Man by Stephen King , and settled down to do some –much needed — fun reading. With no one else home, I stretched out on the couch and let myself become immersed in the story.

Before I knew it, hours had passed, and I had read 70 pages! Holy shit! 70 pages?! I need to do that much more homework reading for tomorrow! Ahhh crap.

This is how it goes:

  1. Do homework.
  2. You really want to take a break.
  3. Do more homework.
  4. Decide to take a break before your brain implodes.
  5. Look around your space – what else is there to distract yourself from homework?
  6. Identify fun book or magazine you’ve been putting off.
  7. Consciously say to yourself, “I should really be doing homework, not reading for fun.”
  8. Consciously say to yourself, “Fuckit. I NEED a break… I won’t let myself get distracted for long.”
  9. Read for fun.
  10. Somehow, a time lapse occurs and hours pass, unnoticed.
  11. Need to pee (or get thirsty, or the phone rings).
  12. Note the time.
  13. Consciously say to yourself, “whaa? How did that happen?! I thought I was only reading for a little while.. It’s been.. 2+ hours?! How is that possible?! Oh no! I need to get back to homework!!”
  14. Do homework.

This isn’t like some of the other college student cycles we’ve been through – because it won’t repeat right away. You’ll do homework until you feel like your brain will implode and you’ll allow yourself to be distracted by something else – the internet, a phone call, TV, but you won’t get back to that book. Somewhere in your mind, you are vaguely frightened that it stole so much of your time, without you even noticing. You may even shun the book, hurling it across the room (as I did, just the other day). But don’t fret. Soon you’ll forget… and pick it up again over the weekend.

THEN you’ll repeat.

70 pages of fun reading?

Dang, I coulda finished my homework in that amount of time.. and more!.. Stupid brain, needing a break. Gah!



September 10, 2007

You Can’t Text Message [during] Classtime!

Filed under: classtime,college,distraction,school,text messages — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 2:27 am

Text McTextington

Class starts. Students across the room shuffle papers, accumulate pens, click open laptops, silence cell phones and begin their finger exercises for another hour-and-a-half stretch of work.

Oh, did I say work? I meant text messaging.

That’s right, text messaging.

There are plenty of inevitable events during each lecture or section: a student asks a question directly covered in the reading, another student (always in the middle seat of a middle row) decides to shuffle out for a bathroom break soon after the entire row gets settled, someone will startle their neighbors by forgetting to turn the volume down on their phone or computer, but more so, there are inevitably students who focus all their attention to text messaging.

…Inevitably: tap, tap, tap, tap

…Inevitably: beep, beep, beep, beep

…Inevitably: click, click, click, click

…Inevitably: flip open, flip closed, flip open, flip closed

It really amazes me that so many students send texts so absolutely consistently during class. Some of my peers actually just leave their phones open on their desks, staring down at the text message menu, desperately awaiting a response from their equally distracted friends.

Worse so, it is frightfully obvious what the students are doing. Some attempt to remedy this by holding the phones in their laps, but that just creates the illusion from the Professor’s perspective that a student is having an interaction with his crotch area and needs both hands to contain the situation.

To keep myself mildly entertained (..and yes, more than mildly distracted), I keep tally marks in my notebooks. One of my favorite tallies to keep is a “text message distraction” list that gets a tick every time a student who was actually taking notes and gets distracted by a text message. I only give a tick when students neglect class and focus their attention on the texting emergency.

This is how it goes:

  1. Student writes notes as Professor reviews concepts from last night’s readings
  2. Student hears buzz of cell phone indicating incoming text message
  3. Student drops pen, flusters those around her to shuffle bag and desk, gaining access to phone
  4. Student flips open cell phone, smirks, then looks around suspiciously
  5. Student begins madly responding to text via thumbs
  6. Student flips closed cell phone, drops it into bag
  7. Student looks around briefly, as if just noting that she is in class
  8. Student writes notes as Professor reviews concepts from last night’s readings

    ..and then? REPEAT… and then? REPEAT …and then?? REPEAT!

R U sick of click-click-click, 2?

Wut R U Doin?


Save your thumbs and just don’t come to class, okay?


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