How Social Media Is Affecting Our Focus

How Social Media Is Affecting Our Focus

Social media is creating a distracted culture.
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During the fall semester of my first year at college, one of my communications professors challenged us with a social media fast. We were able to take as much time off from social media as we needed. Thus, some students lasted two weeks, while others only made it through one day. I actually went through a week of no social media. I was pretty impressed with myself! My results of the fast did not show that social media is directly affecting relationships, but people as individuals. Social media is literally rewiring our brains to multitask, leaving American citizens unable to focus on one topic at a time. Of course, this multitasking mayhem consequently affects our relationships and every other aspect of our lives.

The Internet and social media are transforming the way we learn and remember facts by overloading our memories with useless information. Scientifically, our intelligence is measured by how well our brains convert information from short- term memory to long-term memory. Our working memory, or short-term memory, is only able to retain certain amounts of information at one time. After learning a certain skill, our memories require four to twelve hours to process that information to long-term memory. If another skill is learned within those four to twelve hours, both skills are insufficiently executed. A common source of working memory overload comes from divided attention, which is found when we use social media.

Social media is physically training our brains to multitask and skim reading materials. With suggested videos, advertisements, hyperlinks, notifications, and the immediate access to other’s lives, social media is a haven for confusion and frenzied opinions. Unfortunately, social media seizes our attention only to scatter it. Social media commands our attention at a much faster rate than other media sources, such as newspapers, radio, and even television. Because of our nation’s addiction to social media, our brains are trained to be distracted in other areas of our lives.

As students attempt to fully concentrate and study, our phones are always by our sides, distracting us and breaking our motivation. Even if we turn off our phones, our minds always have a thousand tabs open, as we’re simultaneously thinking about what to eat for dinner, the test next week, and the funny dog video on Facebook. During my social media fast, my intense multitasking became clear. Surprisingly, the fast was not as difficult as I expected. However, I did notice myself picking up my phone or creating a new tab for Facebook whenever my mind wondered. Although, I remembered the fast seconds after opening social media and immediately logged out of my accounts. As I studied for a test, I was highly distracted by other things that I still had to complete or events that occurred that day. Because I did not have social media as a placeholder for when I was distracted, my brain wondered from subject to subject, as it attempted to juggle all of the different topics. I could not focus on one matter at a time and properly retain information. Of course, social media may not a distraction for some people. However, it definitely encourages it in all of us.

Because of social media, the multitasking mayhem happening in our country is consequently affecting our relationships, as people are no longer able to focus on personal, in-depth friendships. Our society values the quantity of friends over the quality of friends, when it should be the opposite. I will admit that I have had trouble building personal relationships while also maintaining social media accounts. People, especially my generation, are more concerned with maintaining their followers on Instagram than the few relationships that will lend a shoulder to cry on in times of desperate need. As we are constantly training our brains to be distracted, our personal relationships suffer. So, put down the phone, close that Facebook tab, and actually spend time with those who matter to you.

Cover Image Credit: Google Pics

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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12 Unhealthy College Habits That Never Should Have Become Normalized

No, you shouldn't have to pull an all-nighter to pass every exam.

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College is a weird time in our lives, but it doesn't have to be bad for our health. Here are some trends I've seen on social media and watched my friends practice that really never should have become a "thing" for college students in the first place.

1. The "freshman 15."

Everyone has heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," where college freshmen gain 15 pounds because of access to all-you-can-eat dining halls. Rather than eating healthier options at the dining halls or, you know, only eating until you're full and not stuffing yourself, we've just accepted our fate to gain what's really a large amount of weight. Not a very healthy mindset.

2. Eating only junk food because we're "too poor" to buy real food.

For off-campus students, the theme is ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. This is really not how it needs to be. You can buy a bunch of romaine lettuce for around $1 at the grocery store I go to in my college town, and other produce like broccoli, potatoes, and apples are always cheap. Shop sales and keep your pantry stocked on staples like dry pasta, rice, beans, and other canned vegetables. It's not that expensive to eat decently.

3. Gorging on food at the dining hall just because you can.

This is what leads to the freshman 15. Just because you can eat whatever you want doesn't mean you should.

4. Procrastinating EVERYTHING.

I'm always ahead of my schoolwork, but all of the people in my classes push things right down to the wire. It creates unnecessary stress. Just get things done in advance so you don't have to worry.

5. Being generally unorganized and struggling to keep your life together. 

Actually using my planner is one of the best things I've done for myself in college so far. I don't know why it became popular for college students to be a hot mess all the time, but again, do what you can to avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself.

6. Pulling all nighters, ever.

If you don't understand it by midnight, you won't understand it any better by five in the morning. You'll do so much better with less studying and more sleep than the other way around. Take the L and go to bed.

7. Waiting until the very last minute to start studying for your finals.

This is what typically leads to the aforementioned all-nighters. If you have an exam in two weeks, start studying NOW. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to focus on and get in contact with your professor or a tutor if necessary. Do yourself the favor.

8. Getting blackout drunk Friday and Saturday night...every weekend.

A lot of college students like to drink. That's fine, I get it, college is stressful and you just want to have a good time. But you don't have to go out every night of every weekend and drink so much you don't remember anything that didn't occur between Monday-Friday every week. Give yourself a break from drinking every so often.

9. Getting iced coffee before class and being late because of it.

I always make sure I get to campus early if I plan to get Starbucks, which I often do. It's rude to come in late, and it's detrimental to your education to consistently miss class. Your coffee can wait if you're running late. Plan better next time.

10.  Committing to 10 different extracurriculars because "it'll boost your resume if you have more on it!"

If you only participate in one club where you're the head of marketing and the treasurer, that will look SO much better than if you participated in five clubs but were just...there for all of them. Excel in one thing rather than being mediocre in many.

11.  Skipping class whenever you feel like it.

You can take the occasional mental health day, but if you're just being lazy, you're only hurting yourself. Go to class. You're paying a lot of money for it, after all.

12.  Spending every last penny you have to go somewhere for spring break (Daytona Beach, anyone?).

"Broke" college kids always end up taking the most extravagant spring break vacations. I'm sure it's fun and you'll cherish the memories, but wouldn't you cherish that $500 more if you saved it for things you actually need rather than living off of ramen for a month when you get home?

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