It’s been one week since Ash Wednesday, which means I’ve been logged off from Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr for that same amount of time. I honestly expected withdrawal symptoms: desperation, insatiable craving, maybe even some twitching. But… it’s been nothing like that.
It could be that, with my midterms coming up (or rather, already barreling at me), I haven’t even had the time to put down my textbooks and flashcards to think about logging on to my social media sites–which, might I add, I’m currently addicted to making flashcards, but more on that later. Even if I wanted to, I made sure to have a friend change my Facebook password, and I have StayFocusd installed on my browser to block off the three trouble sites anyway. But even with all these measures, I haven’t even really thought about trying to check my News Feed. This was easier than I thought.
Social media is a very good and very well-intentioned commodity of our time, but it’s so easy to cross over from using it as a means of communication to turning it into another bottomless time drain. There were nights last semester where I would just sit at my computer scrolling mindlessly through my accounts before realizing it was 1am or later, by which time my eyes would be red and burning and I would slink off to bed, mounds of homework left uncompleted. Such has not been the case lately; after disconnecting, I suddenly found myself with oodles (fun word!) of time, and loads of studying that could fill all that time. The difference has been unbelievable. My grades have skyrocketed.
I was never really one for studying in before college, usually managing to do more than exceptionally doing the bare minimum. Of course, I came to learn through trial and error that the minimum doesn’t cut it at this level of schooling. After meeting with my academic adviser one week, we talked study habits, and she suggested I make flashcards. Other than making the compulsory flashcards my history and psychology teachers assigned in high school, I had never voluntarily used them as a study habit, but I figured I had nothing to lose, so I started making them for my vocab-heavy logic class. I got through two chapters of vocab manually before my adviser one day emailed me a link to an online flashcard maker.
(And here goes my shameless plug for this company; I promise, I’m not being paid to do this. Though maybe I should be. I’ll look into that.)
Flashcard Machine is an online flashcard maker and is completely free to use. You simply sign up for an account and get going on making web-based flashcards! Once you finish making them, you can shuffle them, review them, and even take a multiple-choice quiz based on the terms and definitions you’ve given. It’s a handy little tool and eliminates the need for big stacks of paper index cards. But, get this: Flashcard Machine has iPhone and Android apps! The Android app cost me $1.99 (and believe me, it took quite an internal debate before I finally decided to shell out the bucks for it) but it’s worth the price; instead of scrolling through Facebook and Twitter while I, say, am waiting for class to start or standing in line somewhere, I pull out my phone and do a quick review of some terms in my spare time. All those little lulls in the day really add up; before I knew it, I’d clocked in hours of vocabulary review at the end of each day without even noticing.
Was it worth it? The 89% on my 100-question theology exam (one point of from being the highest score in the class) makes me think so. Ever since that lovely result, I’ve turned everything I need to study for into a set of flashcards. Philosophy? History? Logic? Anything’s possible. All of my lecture notes and study guides are now handy little stacks of digital study cards. It’s beautiful.
I don’t miss my social media right now. I’ve filled up that space with my new little habit for studying. It feels nice doing something good for myself.