Warning: rant coming.
If you are a millennial, I would advise you to pay attention. Not only to the advice in this post, but attention in general. Because your attention seems to be mostly focused on your phone or laptop. And it’s not something unique for class. Coming to Singapore, I quickly concluded that many people living here suffer from severe phone addiction. But more about that in a coming post.
I was sitting in class today, and I took a look around. Almost all other students were busy chatting on apps, doing other irrelevant stuff online, like shopping for lingerie. It’s not a joke. Normally I sit on the front row or close, but today I had a seat farther back, and was able to observe what was happening on the screen of most students. It seemed I was the only person actively participating in class, holding eye contact with my teacher and thinking about what he was saying.
Finally understood why the teachers in Singapore give me so much eye contact. It’s because they hardly get any from other students. In many classes, it feels like the teacher here is holding a lecture privately just for me. What a privilege! Most other students are there physically – but not mentally. Every day I’m getting more and more convinced about the negative impact of mobile phones and social media. A book I read recently, ‘Deep work’ by Cal Newport, really opened my eyes to the issue by referring to actual studies that more than confirmed what I previously only had guessed.
I had to ask myself, what is the point of actually going to class if you don’t plan to pay attention? Can’t think of a more tragic waste of your most precious resource: time. NTU is an expensive school. Are the parents of these students aware that they are paying a hefty tuition so that their kid can browse for lingerie and chat?’ I highly doubt it.
One of the reasons that motivate me so much to pay full attention in class and learn as much as I can, is that the new ratings for NTU put it at nr. 1 in Asia and nr. 11 worldwide. It’s such a blessing and privilege to be able to attain education from a place like this! So WHY THE F*CK are you guys wasting your time and life on snapchat while the teacher is talking?!
I almost get angry just thinking about it. Furthermore, there is the issue of manners. As a generation X student with a bit more life experience, this is so obvious for me. But apparently, not for millennials. When somebody is standing in front of you giving a speech, lecture or important presentation, you give them your attention. You don’t play with your phone. You don’t watch YouTube. You don’t hold group meetings that disturb other students or the person who has the word. Guys, this is just simply basic good manners. Yet, all of the above happen frequently.. The way many students these days conduct their self in class is not only rude but actually quite disrespectful.
Maybe I shouldn’t be too upset about it. Because, it means that an ambitious person who gets so much attention from the teacher only gains a greater advantage on the social media addicts that let the valuable information pass right through their ears unprocessed. That’s one of the main take away’s from Newport’s book. Focused attention is becoming a scarce and highly valued asset in the digital age. Not only is it increasingly rare, but even a prerequisite for producing any kind of highly valued work in the future.
I actually really want to buy a signal jammer that effectively kills all the WiFi and mobile networks in the vicinity. Too bad they are illegal for civilian use in most countries. If I got my hands on one, I’d have it hidden in a backpack on the desk and try not to laugh as the students in the classroom desperately try to get reception but give up. Sadly, it would be such a huge improvement to the learning environment. These are a few of the candidates that would do a great job:
Consider first the small portable jammer. A great alternative to discretely block signals!
If your reception is very strong, this 16-antennae jammer could work wonders!
And finally, for those tough situations where you have to jam somebody’s reception under water, this 200 Watts water proof jammer is a good choice..