UC Berkeley student study habits: expectations vs reality

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Daniel Foster / Filterbrew/Creative Commons

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at Main Stacks or Qualcomm Cafe, trying be productive, but you keep accidentally diving in to a pit of distractions that ultimately leads to hours spent staring at a computer screen with little work to actually show for it. You look around at all of your fellow Golden Bears and can’t help but notice how studious every single person is except for you. How do they do it? What enables them to use their time effectively that you, for some unknown reason, cannot seem to grasp? We at the Clog are here to tell you that they’re no different from you. Below, we’ve provided a list of what students look like they’re doing versus the reality of what is actually happening. Because — though we definitely get down to business from time to time — we’re all procrastinators at heart.

1. If they’re on a computer, they must be doing something productive, right?

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Wrong. From what we can tell, the most common form of procrastination and self-distraction is the same tool we use for the assignments we are trying to avoid. We use our computers to code, write essays, do research, submit assignments on bCourses, etc. But, we also use our computers to check Facebook and Twitter, shop online, play games, take BuzzFeed quizzes, etc. Basically, we can use them for everything other than what we should be and still look like we’re getting shit done. It’s the perfect cop-out! So next time you see that girl staring intensely into her MacBook Pro at Cafe Milano, just remember that she’s probably creeping on that cutie in her cognitive science lecture and remind yourself that she’s no better than you.

2. iPads and tablets mean business

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If someone is tech-y enough to use a tablet on the daily, then they’re probably using it for the greater good. That is, if you want to call swiping right on that questionable guy on Tinder the greater good, then yes. While this kind of technology can be great for reading and pulling up PDFs, it also has the capabilities of smartphones without looking like you’re on your phone. Is that guy in lecture reading along via iPad or keeping up on World Series highlights? We’re guessing the latter.

3. They have their headphones in, so they’re really trying to focus

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While this could be true, headphones are also a distraction in and of themselves. If you don’t have the proper study music, you can easily find yourself stuck at a dance party in your head rather than in the riveting theories of Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault. Additionally, what even is proper study music? Never assume that Beethoven is everyone’s orchestrator of choice, and don’t feel bad if it isn’t your own. If Trey Songz and Lil B are what gets you through organic chemistry, then go ahead and turn up while you turn down. Just choose a louder study location as some people like to turn down … when they turn down.

4. That girl’s pen has been going all lecture; she must be taking such good notes

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Or maybe she’s coming up with the blueprints for her next lower back tattoo. Some people are really good at looking busy during lecture, especially when their professor enjoys calling on students randomly even though there are 600 people in the class. It happens. Don’t feel bad about your own note-taking abilities or your attention span. For all you know, that girl could be scrambling to finish the problem set you completed last night. Or she could actually be taking tons of notes on irrelevant aspects of the lecture that you don’t feel are necessary. See what we mean by the possibilities being endless? Keep your head up and remember that we’ve all been there at some point.

5. If a group project is happening, productivity is, too.

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If you’ve ever actually been in a group project, you know this can be the farthest thing from the truth. Despite the outward appearance of multiple people collaborating together, the reality could be more like multiple people thinking about how equally screwed they are for this class. It’s easy to look at other groups and think they have it all together, but everyone stresses equally and feels like they’re doing more than their fair share of the work. We’ve all had this problem and it probably won’t be for the last time. The best you can do is remember that three people staring at a computer screen does not mean three people who are going to get As.

Image Sources: Steve McClanahanUniversity of Frazer Valley, Photo Giddy, Clemsonunivlibrary, Daniel Foster, Saad Faruque under Creative Commons

Contact Summer Langton at [email protected].