Social media & academics don’t mix

Although it’s important to maintain a healthy balance of our social and academic lives, students too often fail to draw a defining line between the two.  

Let’s be honest; its’ a hopeless undertaking to stay active on social media while also paying attention to a lecture. Although we would not like to admit it, our multitasking talents are not as admirable as we think. Most importantly, as students of an established university, we need to realize how lucky we are to be here and leave our phones at home.

Looking back on my own experiences in class, I wonder what has caused our need to constantly be connected. Perhaps it comes from a place of insecurity — afraid of removing oneself from their social circle for more than an hour in lecture. Or maybe it’s just habit — in such a  technology reliant generation — to be constantly tuned in, even in class. 
 
Whatever it is, something needs to be done about our technology being a persistent distraction from our academics.
 
I don’t think there should be supervision or restrictions on phones and laptops in a classroom of young adults — it’s not the professor’s responsibility to babysit us. But it’s seriously frustrating to be sitting in lecture looking forward at rows upon rows of Facebook feeds on open laptops — including my own.
 
Talking to my parents about their academic experiences in university, it seems like another world — searching through Oxford volumes for endless definitions and actually using the school library to conduct research. Today we would be lost without our ever-present access to technology within the realms of education. 
 
Looking back on my high school days, I used to make sure my phone was stored safely away in my locker to avoid getting in trouble with my teachers. Learning there was no supervision of social media use in class on my arrival at university, I felt like a true adult. Finally, I was in charge of my own class behaviour — how ironically childish that I spent my newfound adulthood ignoring professors and scrolling through pointless social media.
As part of this problem, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve wasted precious hours of learning by checking my recent Snapchats. We are so fortunate to have access to such a high degree of education, yet those moments of class time seem lost and blurred over by a screen. 
 
When I look back on my years at Queen’s so far, many wonderful memories come to mind — but they don’t often include my time in lectures and seminars. Always having a love of learning, I tried to figure out why my time in class wasn’t included in my fondest memories. I realized it had nothing to do with the professors or the material, and everything to do with my cellphone.
 
With technology posing an incredible hindrance to our levels of concentration as well as our absorption of important academic material, it’s time that students take it upon themselves to ensure phones are outside of the classroom. 
 
Meg is The Journal’s Managing Editor. She’s a fourth-year English major.
 

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