Attending college in the modern era comes at a price, both literal and figurative. That means several things, and one — some may argue the most important — is the ability to have access to information, a.k.a. the internet.
I live in a five-bedroom house a few blocks away from school, work two jobs and consider myself a full-time student even in the summer with an online class. That being said, an online class requires the internet, but with my roommate out of the country and my inability to assemble the new internet router, I have been living in a house that is off-the-grid.
Young adults — particularly undergraduate and graduate students — are more likely to use the internet and own tech devices than the rest of the general population, according to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
“Nearly 100 percent of college students and 92 percent of nonstudents in the 18-24 age range were internet users,” said Jie Jenny Zou, the author of the paper published from the Pew study. “By comparison, only 75 percent of adults nationally report using the internet.”
I, however, have had to use the internet away from the comfort of my home. I have been getting up early and making my commute to school to take an online class — which some have said defeats the purpose of the online class, given that it is also available in person on campus.
It's ironic, like that Alanis Morissette song, that the time I need the internet most I don’t have easy access to it. I know that I can use my data hotspot, but that is beside the point. At my house, we pay for wifi, and given that I cannot assemble the new transmitter — it’s sitting on the table in my kitchen — I have lost out on completing my coursework or any online work, including watching Netflix, in the comfort of my home.
I am not saying that this is a bad thing; it builds motivation for me to get out of my house and go to a place that emphasizes learning. This, I have found, also reduces the amount of distractions I have.
“Students are more distracted than ever. They tend to check their digital devices, particularly, their smartphones, an average of 11.43 times during class for non-classroom activities. A solid 12 percent do texting, emailing, checking the time or other activities in class more than 30 times a day,” said Dian Schaffhauser, author of Research: College Students More Distracted Than Ever.
I find truth in the research provided, for sitting in a boring hour-long economics lecture about the scientific principles behind every economic choice made can most definitely lead a student — myself — to look at other things on a laptop.
“Students spend a fifth of their time in class doing things on their devices that have nothing to do with their school work,” Schaffhauser wrote.
Not having internet and being on campus to complete work has made me a more productive person. At home I cook meals, play with my cats, water my plants and watch my favorite movies the old-school way, knowing that I will deal with any emails or communication issues in the morning.
There are things, sometimes even people, that can be too distracting for us to stay focused on a goal. At home I am comfortable and in a relaxing environment, but being there while taking a class could lead me to not perform my best. I get distracted quite easily in a place where I can watch Netflix or other entertainment.
To me, the click of a button that opens Netflix is too easy, which leads to me watching one of my favorite businessmen teach me the rules of the office. Michael Scott said it best in season six, episode sixteen.
“I am sort of a master of distraction. When I was a kid, my mom received compliments left and right from my teachers on how I was always able to distract others in class. Try to think, what were the first thirteen colonies? Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. [Michael covers his mouth and makes fart noises.]”
Now that I am off the internet at home, it has lead me to be more productive. I do what I can, listen to the radio, clean and so forth knowing that I don’t have to check my email all the time. I enjoy being able to go to a coffee shop and get school work done and when I am home that halts until the next day.
I may complain and will be thrilled to have the internet back at home when it is set up, but for now, I feel good about my decisions and fairly good about my grade in that online class.
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