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Bruins provide advice on resisting detrimental distractions

Phones have become one of the most prominent distractions that many students are finding difficulty in resisting during the age of distance and hybrid learning. Photo by Maya Bussinger

A lot of students during distance and hybrid learning probably feel like Dug from the Pixar movie “Up” — everytime we feel that we are on track with school work for the day, or ready to pay attention in class, our phones make a noise and we go “Squirrel!” Our attention is immediately diverted, losing our train of thought and productivity. 

With these distractions being one of the main culprits of falling grades, Bruins reflect on how they can limit distraction during class.

Mary Buhr, one of Bear River’s counselors, described why students are becoming more distracted this school year.

“I think most of the distractions are social/emotional like when is school going to return to ‘normal’? Do I need to be worried about catching COVID? When will I be able to hang out with friends like I used to?” she commented. “I also think students are frustrated and bored with a lot of the restrictions that are in place. Academically, it’s hard for students who are virtual to be attentive and engaged in an online learning platform day after day. There’s a little more structure and familiarity for students who are attending in-person, but they still go home to a long day of semi-solitude.” 

Socialization traditionally is a huge part of school, and with the return to hybrid, I know that I would rather catch up with friends and get more social interaction than sitting in class, paying attention to the teacher and the information being presented. 

My biggest distraction is definitely my phone mostly because watching Netflix, going on Tik Tok, or talking with my friends is a lot more interesting than paying attention and learning about the Industrial Revolution or pretty much any other topics we cover in school,” says Junior Dayanara Moreno Zamora.

Distance learning presents different challenges that students have not faced previously as Senior Olivia Lyman pointed out.

“The type of distractions I have for online school are my bad internet, siblings, and lack of motivation,” she said. 

Junior Bailey Ham agreed with both Lyman and Moreno Zamora.

“I have a ton of siblings and animals, so obviously there are a lot of distractions in our house. I also deal with my phone being a distraction,” she said.

With so many distractions, students have found ways to limit those distractions in order to be more productive.

For those who find their main distractions are thinking about different things, and their brain gets off track, Mrs. Buhr suggested her own ways of refocusing on her work. 

“If something is distracting me – like if I find myself thinking about it a lot of the time – I write it down to get it out of my head and on to paper. That helps to keep me from ruminating,” she said. “Once it’s on paper, I can return to it later and journal about it or think about it, but it’s not necessary for me to believe that I have to keep it in my mind at all times.”

Moreno Zamora provided her own advice to limiting getting distracted by her phone.

“I have tried putting my phone on airplane mode or putting it in another room and that works for a while,” she said. “I am sure that being on your phone or doing other stuff that is not learning is definitely more exciting and fun than sitting down and listening to teachers lecture for four hours, but in the end, you are only screwing yourself over because you won’t have the knowledge needed to thrive in in-school classes that we will hopefully have next year, and your grades will definitely show it.”

Ham used a similar method to Moreno.

“I make sure I have a quiet place to do my work and focus on the task at hand. I also turn my phone notifications off, and try my best to keep un-distracted,” she said. “Honestly, make sure wherever you do school work is a good environment, it will help you focus and remain less stressed; so you are less likely to attempt to distract yourself.”

Lyman’s advice is to find a quiet place to work and get help from friends when needed. 

“To help myself with these distractions I have gotten work from friends and made a quiet space for myself. My advice to other struggling students is to get into a routine that works for you so you can stay on top of things,” she said.

Mrs. Buhr also stressed the importance of designating a work spot to complete school work.

“[It should be] someplace where your Chromebook is accessible and everything else you need (paper, pen, books, calculator, etc.) is right there so that you can get down to work and focus,” she said. “If you don’t have room for a desk, put all of your stuff in a crate and when it’s time to work, pull out your crate so that everything you need is handy. Organization is an important executive functioning skill!”

Personally, one thing that works well for me, is doing the work in class. When you finish the homework in the time that teachers give you, it actually will give you more time to be on your phone watching movies, tv shows or catching up with friends undisturbed. You don’t have to worry about being marked absent, or switching to your next class. Take advice from others, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

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Bruins provide advice on resisting detrimental distractions