By Daniel Brennan
Like many people my age, I’m a bit of a social media addict. My personal poison of choice is the certified cesspit that is Twitter – in around four years of using the site regularly, I’ve racked up over 40,000 tweets, and I’m now averaging around 1,000 tweets every month. That doesn’t even account for the amount of time I spend scrolling, liking, retweeting and refreshing my feed daily, or for the time I spend on other apps like Instagram or Snapchat. Usually, this mindless scrolling, posting and messaging doesn’t have any effect on my daily routine or work I need to do – until exam time comes around.
Studying is awful, and I’m pretty sure that’s a universal statement everyone can agree with. There’s no fate more painful I can think of than spending days on end in the library or reading room, from morning until night, constantly taking notes and looking over the same lecture slides and academic articles until my eyes bleed… but it’s a necessary evil, and one that makes having your phone with you at all times a real burden.
This leads to a real dilemma – can you realistically delete your social media during the exam period to force yourself to study and work, or has the constant connection to family and friends become too much of a tool to just throw away altogether?
The notion of completely dumping all social media for a month is obviously pretty unrealistic, but managing the time you spend on your phone is important as you may not even realise just how much time you spend every day on them, with some recent studies showing that most young people spend anywhere between 5 and 9 hours a day on their phones – between a third and over half of the time they’re awake… and quite clearly, that’s an issue when it comes to studying.
But, it’s easier than you think to cut back on your social media use, get all the studying you need in, and still keep up to date with who or what you care about online. It took until the start of my second year in college to figure out a way to balance books and Facebook, and what I do is simple – I still carry my phone with me at all times, but only ever turn it on when I’m taking a study break for a few minutes every hour or two.
This way, I can still keep up to date with everything and everyone, while also not hideously failing my exams. A word of advice for first years – don’t make the mistakes I did doing all – nighters cramming the night before an exam, just turn off your phones! At least that way, most of the night will be spent studying instead of scrolling…
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