Springtime brings distraction

Students choose between schoolwork and sunshine

By Haley Lewis, Staff Writer

Photo by Dylan Paulus.  Ewu sophomore Jordan Martin daydreams during classes when the spring weather rolls around.
Photo by Dylan Paulus.
Ewu sophomore Jordan Martin daydreams during classes when the spring weather rolls around.

The sun is finally shining, the birds are chirping, but Jordan Martin, political science major, is stuck in class looking out the window, wishing he could go out and embrace the warm weather.

“I felt like I was wasting the day,” said Martin. “It is kind of hard to get motivated to get active in classes because there are a lot more opportunities in the spring to go out and do stuff.”

Martin is one of several students who has trouble concentrating in the classroom during spring time.

Another student, Paige Davison, community health major, said it is harder to concentrate because “it is so dang beautiful out.”

Davison also has trouble concentrating because of feeling burnt out. During spring quarter, Davison said she feels “done and over it.”

Miguel Lopez, psychology and communications major, said the warm weather of spring does not really affect him because he enjoys the atmosphere of school and feels like that is where he belongs.

Like Lopez, Anna Hulse, art education major, said the warm weather does not bother her.

“Because I am an art student, I find lots of inspiration in the springtime,” Hulse said.

Nick Stearns, pre-med biology major, said it is harder to go to class because the weather is warmer, but not necessarily harder to concentrate.

Jonathan Anderson, psychology department chair who holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a specialty in neuropsychology, said students’ attention tends to be pulled to activities or things that they have high interest in.

“If students view being outside as having a higher salient reward than being in class, it will win,” Anderson said.

“In addition, attention is a limited resource,” he said. “The more distractions you have, the harder it is to focus in and sustain attention. It makes sense in any situation that the more distractions you have, the less attention you have to dedicate to something else.”

Martin, Lopez, Davison and Stearns all agreed that grades help keep them motivated. Anderson said this is an example of external motivation.

Grades can help students stay motivated, according to Anderson, because it is important to maintain high grades for graduate school or some department majors require students to obtain a certain grade in a class to have it count toward a major. Another external motivation is attendance policies of instructors. Some take attendance into the final grade.

Some students, on the other hand, are internally motivated to stay focused, according to Anderson. They learn for the sake of learning or delay their gratification of external motivation.

Anderson said if students are easily distracted, they should think about the environment they are studying in.

“A quiet library works for some, while others prefer the sound of music while studying,” said Anderson. “But always limit distractions.”

Anderson also said scheduling breaks into study time can be helpful too.

“When the urge to stray from your studying occurs, remember that your scheduled straying time is approaching,” said Anderson

He also said it is important to study for small increments over a week, rather than one long increment over one or two days.

Lopez said if students are having a hard time staying focused, just remember the sooner the work is done, the sooner they can go outside.

Martin pointed out that there is one thing relieving about spring quarter.

“It is the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Martin.

Tips to stay motivated in the spring time
Source: The retention specialists at Eastern’s academic success center, located in Monroe hall

· Set achievable goals

· Give tiny rewards for the goals achieved

· Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water

· Reconnect with a planner

· Communicate with professors to stay connected

· Actually being present in class

· Attend PLUS groups and tutoring regularly

· Do homework before Sunday night

· Exercise regularly

· Re-evaluate priorities