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ARTS3091 Lecture 1: week 1

March 31, 2014

Uni relapse.

As we sit in the lecture theatre, there is a vast difference between the atmosphere of this lecture and the one I had previously. The prior lecture room was full to capacity – students spilled into the walkways, sprawling their notepads and multi coloured pens on the stairs. They hushed as the lecturer turned on the computer. They asked questions: mostly dumb ones…ones that were answered by the lecturer through her very detailed spiel that took up the better part of two and a half hours. They needed to know every single little detail that didn’t cross my mind. They were eager but scared– scared about the specific details of the assessments, the referencing, the fear of not living up to their marks received in high school and being not as superior as they once were. First years. Yes I am taking a first year course as an elective and I’m not sure whether to be threatened by my peers’ enthusiasm or if I should revel in the notion that they are about to have all their expectations crushed (a little bleak… but I’m mulling on my own experience). 

Now flash forward to the familiar faces of third year media students and the entire ambience of the room is different. It is a little over half full, friendly smiles and waves are exchanged from across the room as are some loud shrieks of joy when seemingly close friends are reunited. Throughout the next two hours, I feel a ping of sympathy for Andrew. As he brought up the first slide, 50% of the Mac screens flicked to Facebook or Tumblr or some other social media site. Two girls beside me start whispering about what they got up to over the holidays and I will not be repeating what I heard! And I found myself tuning in and out: getting distracted by the conversations around me, the really cool online store this girl in front of me is scrolling through and the effects Andrew has put on the power point slides…very impressive.

Instantly, I am reminded of the last course run by Andrew (ARTS2090) and the attention spans of my fellow classmates (including myself) teleport me back to my blog post about attention (or lack of): The octopus: the modern day multi-tasker. The major issue with media isn’t that we don’t know what to do with it or how it affects our personal lives [and interactions] but the fact that there are multiple stimuli that we pay equal attention/distraction to simultaneously, and thus neglect the depth of attention needed to complete one task. Even as I write this, I am checking my emails, organising my shifts for work, updating my schedule book, texting, a little bit of Facebook and Instagram and humming along to the music being played in the café I am sitting in. I have a feeling this is going to be a busy semester.

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