By Paige Woods, director, Columbia College-Redstone Arsenal

Do you remember your first cell phone? For my 16th birthday, I was gifted a flip phone with a tiny one-color screen. My plan limited my calls to a certain number of minutes per month and I paid for texts individually, or maybe texting came a little bit later… Do you remember using the T9 system to text?

These days most, if not all, cell phones (and even computers!) have a full-color touchscreen, which offers the ability for the user to engage in “touch mechanics” gestures and more. Slight movements with our fingers on the screen can instantly change what we see and hear and can enable or disable a specific application.

Redstone Arsenal Director Paige Woods

What would have been unheard of 20 years ago has now become commonplace.

I’m sure you’ve found that time speeds by at a frantic pace and, as a student, you have to try to stay focused on everything that needs to be done. You can dismiss a call, delete an email, and terminate various other notifications with a swipe of one finger. When you do this, you have eliminated distractions that we know can cloud your focus and keep you from your best.

“Swiping it off” allows you to declutter your mind and attend to the things that are most important. It is the equivalent of saying “NO” when someone asks you to add one more thing to your already-full plate. That is incredibly hard to do, though! We expect constant connectivity and stepping away from it takes major self-control.

While you already juggle several important roles, including student, employee, and parent, the last thing you need is more distraction. Do you really need to update your Facebook page? Does your Instagram feed call out to you every 90 seconds? Are you busy learning a new Tik Tok dance? To a student, these are all sneaky time-suckers.

Exert that impulse control now to swipe away those unnecessary activities and focus on the vital tasks at hand. Before you know it, instead of updating your Facebook page, you will be updating your resumé with a well-earned degree from Columbia College-Redstone Arsenal!