Beware of distractions

Published May 4, 2024
Illustration by Sumbul
Illustration by Sumbul

Once again, it’s that time of the year when almost all school and college-going students gear up for their annual exams. The results of these exams not only evaluate the performance students have shown throughout the year and affect their eligibility for scholarships, but they also decide university placements and careers. Therefore, needless to say, annual exams of different local boards, Cambridge University, or individual schools, hold immense significance in a student’s life.

Given their importance, all students aim to struggle day and night to excel in these exams. However, many distractions come in the way of a majority of the students and prevent them from achieving their academic goals. These outwardly appealing distractions are a complete waste of time and, since time is the most precious thing a student can have, one cannot expect to excel in studies unless one lets go of distractions, particularly during the exam season.

Let’s have a look at some of the distractions that are an obstacle in the way of achieving academic success.

Social media

Probably the biggest waste of time and attention in this era is the inappropriate use of the numerous social networking sites and apps — WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, X, SnapChat and what not. Minutes turn into hours as you keep scrolling down, posting and liking stories, commenting on others’ posts, watching the latest trends and sharing the ‘live coverage’ of your whereabouts.

This will never end and can never end! There will always be people posting updates at all times of the day, trends will change frequently and your mind will always be occupied with noticing how many people have liked your post and who has accepted your friend request or sent you one.

In our surroundings, we witness so many individuals who were once bright students, but their grades came down steadily once they bought mobile phones and became active on social media.

A few of them did come to realise their mistake only when it was too late!

So, a suggestion for school-going students is not to have their own mobile phone and, if necessary, limit the time spent on social media throughout the year and log out of all social networking sites during exams. Distancing from gadgets is essential for excelling in exams, apart from studying hard.

Illustration by Sumbul
Illustration by Sumbul

Games

All types of games are meant for recreation, but when excessive time is spent on playing them, they become distractions.

Video games should never be preferred over outdoor games. It would be even better to avoid playing video games altogether and instead spend the available time playing football, cricket or doing exercise. This is because video games are not good for health, many of them have violent and disturbing content, and a lot of time and attention is wasted to move to the ‘next level’ of the particular game, making one addicted to playing them.

As far as outdoor games are concerned, they must never be stopped completely, even during exams. This is because they are essential for keeping the body and mind healthy. However, students should follow a proper routine during exams — time should be reserved for them and they should only be played during that time. Playing outdoor games throughout the day, even during study time should be avoided. Similarly, ‘tournaments’ of cricket and football should not be encouraged during exams because they require extra time and attention.

Concisely, by keeping a balance between study time and time for recreation, health benefits can be achieved and distraction due to games can be avoided.

Television

Even though social media has replaced the role of television to a great extent, watching the TV remains a distracting activity for students. Drama serials are broadcast round the clock and they are advertised in such a manner that many are tempted to watch them. When one episode ends, there remains a never-ending curiosity to find out what happens in the next one. Therefore, one is tempted to watch the entire drama serial, which is a waste of precious time of students that can be better utilised in studies.

The same goes for cricket and football matches, whose matches are played and broadcast now and then. Even the shortest format of a cricket match takes at least four hours to complete. I am sure no student can spare this much time in the days before the final exams.

Hence, it would be wise to turn off televisions during exams. Highlights and even live streams of cricket matches will remain available on YouTube for all times to come, and can be watched during holidays. The same goes for the TV dramas. However, the time for final exams will not come again. Their result, once announced, will certainly not be changed!

Social life and friends

Since every grade and school follows their own exam schedule, not all students have exams at the same time. This can be a distraction because siblings can have exams at different times, leading to some being free and enjoying their days while others are studying hard. The same holds true for friends and cousins. And this can lead to those studying hard becoming distracted by the fun activities of their playmates, and in some cases, being forced to attend activities and parties being held during their exam time.

Those who are free from exams should care about not disturbing others who are hard at studies, and should wait to hold any get-together until everyone is free and can participate freely. And the ones studying should firmly let others know that they are not available during a certain period as they need to focus on studies, so they should not be bothered during that time. People who genuinely care will do their best not to divert a student’s attention.

Dear students, distractions have existed at all times, in one form or the other. Wise students who did not let the pursuit of these distractions compromise their studies achieved their academic goals and secured their careers. However, those who got caught up in the distractions spoiled their grades, and in turn their careers. Therefore, it is important to avoid the many distractions of student life because this important time, once passed, will not come again!

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 4th, 2024

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