15 years ago, a college classroom was a different place. Students had paper and pen to use to take notes from a professor who would lecture on verbally (most likely without visual aids). If they were nice, they would write an outline on the chalkboard, which, if you were in a big lecture hall and sitting in the back, was impossible to view. Now, technology has evolved incredibly to allow for laptops and smartphones to become commonplace in society. So commonplace, that they are as much of a staple for college students as late night study hours at the library and caffeinated beverages.
Many people get distracted when a screen connected to WiFi is in front of their face in a class that may or may not be a bit... unexciting, to put it nicely. Here are some activities that you might see your classmates doing if you looked up from your screen and paid attention:
1. Watching an episode of [insert popular show here].
This is most annoying when they're right in front of you watching one of your favorite shows with closed captions on. So tempted to watch, but must focus on...wait, what was the professor saying again?
2. Updating their LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn Profile Summary: First Last is a university student who is great at preparing for professional life during an 80-minute lecture about the rocks found on Earth.
3. Writing a paper that is due at 11:59 PM that night for another class.
They probably either knew they could not miss another iClicker attendance check question or thought that they could handle trying to focus on one subject while being in a lecture hall or classroom hearing a completely different one.
4. Writing a paper that is due at 11:59 PM for the class they are currently in.
They could not afford to skip class again, but also cannot afford to lose points for lateness on a paper they already think is simply "words on a page."
5. Scrolling through their social media newsfeed.
Ah yes, you have always wanted to see their friends' Facebook status updates.
6. Updating their student organization's social media pages.
You have also always wanted to know what they do outside of the class.
7. Texting their group chat using Mac iMessage.
You can bet that that constant clicking of their keyboard keys is not due to them frantically taking notes.
8. Looking at memes.
They are probably typing rapidly in the aforementioned group chat because someone (or they) sent a hilarious meme.
9. Making a flyer for their student organization's meeting or event.
Seeing the words "Free Food" being typed in bold colors and exciting lettering catches your attention immediately, making you intrigued to discover the time and place where said free food will be.
10. Playing a computer game.
This one does not even make sense to me as someone who does not play computer games because it's a tiny desk and they're on a laptop. Judging from what I see from my brother's gaming, it doesn't look like the most ideal of conditions.
11. Shopping on [insert online marketplace here].
I should be paying attention, but imagining my room or common area decorated with these tapestries or posters is simply more entertaining.
12. Watching YouTube videos.
Ah, yes, the funny cat videos that produce laughter at the most inappropriate of times.
13. Figuring out how to complete a major not related to the class they are currently in.
"This major's course sequence looks a lot more interesting and aligning more with my interests."
14. Making their course schedule for next semester.
Some people find it fun to create their schedule because they're so optimistic with the multitude of options available ... .but then they go to their course sequence and you ground yourself back to reality.
15. Checking Rate My Professor in order to not make the same mistake they made last semester.
They might be a first-year who might not have known better or someone who was skeptical of this website. Even though you have to take Rate My Professor ratings with a grain of salt, you should probably heed the advice of past students if there are consistently low scores and the descriptions they provide terrify you.
16. Googling random questions that pop into their head
What does Orion's Belt look like? What graduate schools are in the [insert popular metro area here]? Will it rain tomorrow? The possibilities are endless.
17. Streaming a live game of football/soccer/baseball/etc.
This typically happens around big sporting events such as Monday Night Football, World Cup, and World Series.
18. Completing a Buzzfeed quiz.
What's more important — focusing on this very important lecture that is sure to contain crucial information for the exam or finding out what kind of penguin they are?
19. Almost falling asleep because of the professor's lecturing.
They will swear they are able to focus on what the professor is saying better with their eyes closed.
20. Leaning on the keyboard and unknowingly pressing a certain letter and jolting up when they realize they have typed the same letter 300+ times.
Coincidentally, the repeating letter was ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
21. Writing an article/listicle for Odyssey.
You might see another Google Doc window open up on my screen as I type away at an idea that just sprung upon me.
22. Reading a relatable article/listicle.
Yes, I completely agree that there are 40 Things I'd Rather Do Than Study For Midterms
23. Actually taking notes for class.
They could always just do the thing that lecture is meant for — taking notes.