I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that listening to the warning in this post could make or break your college career. If you want to learn anything at all in college or be sharpened in any significant way, you have to listen to this.
Is it okay if I bring my laptop to class to take notes?
No, sorry, not any more. Now that Baylor offers wireless internet access in most classrooms, the university has provided you with too many opportunities for distractions. Think I’m over-reacting? Think you’re a master of multitasking? You are not. No, I really mean it. How many times do I have to tell you? Notes taken by hand are almost always more useful than typed notes, because more thoughtful selectivity goes into them; plus there are multiple cognitive benefits to writing by hand. And people who use laptops in class see their grades decline — and even contribute to lowering the grades of other people. Also, as often as possible you should annotate your books.
Before you dismiss this, I encourage you to check out the links provided in the above quote. The concept of multitasking is most definitely a myth. As for the laptop thing, having finished my Bachelor’s Degree and being half-way through my Master’s, I can attest that laptops can either be the best of friends or worst of enemies to your education. In any given class, at any time, the majority of students who are on their laptops are probably not present cognitively in the classroom. It’s not that they aren’t focusing, but they are focusing on something else (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, iMessage, etc.) besides what’s going on in the class.
But there’s more…
Are You Studying Christianly?
This is an especially important note if you are a Christian. Unlike the majority of college students out there who are simply working for a degree so they can get a bigger paycheck, your college education means something more than clinching a good job for yourself. For the Christian, education is a gift from God that should be stewarded well by working diligently to grow in knowledge, character, and maturity. Christians should make the best students because they have the best Savior and the greatest purpose for studying hard: His glory. Every Christian student should work at their learning as if Jesus Himself was their professor (see Colossians 3:23). All classes and assignments should be done as a representative of Jesus Christ and done full heartedly for His honor and glory (Colossians 3:17). But, the sad truth I have experienced is that too many Christians are worldly students. We may sing, pray, and read our Bibles like saints, but, often times, we study like pagans.
So I ask you, what do you do in class? Do you listen? Do you think carefully and critically? Do you ask good questions and try to master whatever subject you’re in? Or are you on Facebook and wasting your time surfing the Interwebs? Are you taking your education seriously? Like it is an assignment entrusted to you from your King? Like it itself is an act of worship done in a way to please your Lord? Please, friends, don’t follow your non-believing classmates in their foolishness. Don’t waste your education. Let it never be said that the scholars of Satan are more studious than those of Christ.
Close the laptop. Silence the phone. Get a notebook and worship your way through class. “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
HT: Justin Taylor