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Home Centennial College Blog 2017 September 15 It can happen to you! The four most common college distractions (and how to fix them)

It can happen to you! The four most common college distractions (and how to fix them)

picture of students at the Centennial College residence building

These are distracting times. The world we live in provides us with unlimited access to information, people, and resources, at the cost of our attention. If you’re in college, you need to be ready to meet those distractions head on and ignore them so you can work or study whenever necessary. There are a few common threads running through stories that talk about distractions in school, like these examples from Thoughtco and uLoop, and they’re all things I experienced myself while in school. Here’s what you need to watch out for when you’re trying to get your work done, and how you can get ahead of it:

Your location

Living on residence can be a distracting challenge when you’re trying to get your work done, especially if it’s your first time away from home. You’re surrounded by new people, and there’s always something going on. Even if you’re not on residence, too, things in your environment can distract you.

To help with that, Centennial College’s residence at Progress Campus features quiet study spaces. And if you’re not in residence, there’s another, unusual way to fix this: Study someplace different, instead of doing your work at home or in a classroom, since it actually cuts down on distractions. When you’re in a familiar space, you feel like you can interact with it, even if it’s just to fix something. When you’re in an unfamiliar space, you don’t feel like you can touch anything and end up staying more focused. To put it another way, you’d sweep the floor of your room if it was dusty. You wouldn’t sweep a library’s floor..

The people around you

Unfortunately, when it comes to getting things done, sometimes your friends can become your enemies by keeping you away from the work you need to do. Like it or not, if you live at home, the family can also cause the same problem. Like our first problem, this can be solved by getting away from where you’re living, and heading somewhere that’s specifically a workspace, like our libraries, or even someplace remote, like a coffee shop. As for your friends, the best way to fix it is to just to work alone, even if you’re all in the same class. Plus, your true friends will know when to give you space.

Not managing your health

Always remember to take care of yourself! If you don’t, studying will be harder. If you’re not eating healthy or sleeping well, you won’t be able to focus, retain knowledge, or produce anything that’s as good as you can make it. If you’re tired, or hungry, or anything else, you become distracted easier. Don’t try and power through hunger, tiredness, needing to use the bathroom and plain discomfort. Don’t rely on energy drinks, either. The fatigue will catch up with you. You can counter this by planning around your needs when you know you’ve got a session of schoolwork or study ahead of you. Eat before you study, or even bring food with you, make sure you sleep well and schedule regular breaks. Don’t make the computer/phone breaks, though, lest you get sucked up into the following issue…

Being chained to technology

It can be hard to get away from your friends when your phone’s constantly buzzing. Not only that, but that same phone is a gateway to games, music, and the internet. The solution to this is simple, but hard to pull off in practice: If you’re working, just turn it off. There’s no reason to use it, and 99 percent of phone calls can wait until you’re done.

Your computer can be a huge distraction, too, but it’s hard to avoid it since you’re probably doing all your work on it. A rule of thumb I try to use when it's crunch time: Only have one window open at a time on your desktop unless you specifically need more than one for your current task. Even turn the wifi off, if you’re able to.

Also, never have a game on, ever. We’ve all heard the stories of people getting hooked on World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Overwatch, or something else. Games are a part of every student’s experience (We usually have a few in the CCSAI’s lounges, and you can even make them in our Game – Development program), but you have to be sure not to get hooked.

By Anthony Geremia