I’m not going to. Obviously. But if I did, this is what I would say to the two millennials sitting next to me, very close in proximity, at Starbucks.
“Pardon me, I don’t mean to interject, or be rude, or tell you how to live your life, or really do anything other than just plain help you, but I just couldn’t help overhearing (despite my headphones) about how your undergraduate classes are proceeding and thought maybe I could offer you some words of wisdom. Free of charge.
First, to take a look at some raw statistical data, the two of you have been sitting next to me for over two hours, 137 minutes, to be exact. If I had to ballpark it, let’s be on the safe side here, I’m going to go ahead and say that out of the 137 minutes, the amount of time that both of you spent actually STUDYING, learning, doing what I presume you set aside this time for, is roughly five minutes each. Let’s call it seven. To calculate this as a percentage (I’ve got this one since math makes you sooooooo sleepy), the actual amount of your study time that you spent, um, studying, is 0.051%.
So, not to belabor the point here, but I think that a brief search on effective study habits might help with that failing science class or the “annoying” professor that gave you a D on your last paper. You know the one whose feedback you spent approximately eleven minutes reading out loud and making snide comments like, “Passive voice, what does that even mean?” And, “The only paragraph I wrote that he actually liked is the one about America. So what does that tell you?”
I want to help you. The fact that both of you are not looking up your ex-boyfriends on the Internet tells me that you are good people that want to succeed. Also, that you each spent close to eight minutes (ballparking here) looking up Danielle’s ex-boyfriend on the Internet tells me that you are easily distracted. (Millennial A: He is hot! Millennial B: Yeah, a hot mess.)
This tendency to get distracted is all the more reason to look up effective study habits and perhaps find a quiet place, away from professional writers with professional blogs that professional plumbers click on often, to their confusion and dismay.
Look, this isn’t about grinding an axe or my own stress in revising work set to be published. Never mind the job interview I have to prepare for or the giant stress zit on my forehead. I’m simply offering advice as an elder. It’s not your fault. Many schools never teach how to study.
There are many small things that make a big difference. Turning off your phone I think actually qualifies as a big one. Location. Scheduling breaks for snacks and coffee. (Seriously, Google has over 154,000,000 results for “effective study habits. Just do a quick search since you haven’t put down your phones the entire time.) Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but perhaps you two aren’t right for each other, Study Buddy wise. While it’s obviously clear that you are great friends with a lot to talk about, including potential boyfriends (the advice to “go home tonight, write about him in your journal, wake up, read it, and see if you feel the same way,” shows how much you care about each other and want nothing but good things like finishing college to happen); it might not be clear that academically speaking, you guys are oil and water.
To again return to some hard data, something that is often useful in making important decisions like where and how to study (even if your stats teacher is “clueless on how to actually teach”), I’m going to go ahead and ballpark estimate here, on the safe side, that each of you spoke roughly 5,000 words in the past two hours and now twenty-one minutes (roughly 35.46 words per minute, each). One thing I’ve found in earning both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree, is that it is difficult to study and talk at the same time.
Why not plan to meet up after studying? You’ll both feel much better about having been productive because you won’t have distracted each other (or those around you, like professional writers editing an essay for publication, an essay that has already been accepted, one where the writer has to concentrate, really scrutinize each word and sentence so as not to make a small error that could slip past the editor and this small error could hurt this hypothetical writer’s chances of really making it as a writer? Unlike a blog which allows writers, even professional writers, to write off the cuff and make all kinds of misakes.)
So now, as the students from the nearby middle school swarm in and eliminate the remote chance that the two of you will do anymore studying, let me end by closing my eyes, turning up my headphones to dangerous levels so as to drown out your incessant chattering, and pretend to be Jon Bon Jovi, wearing leather pants, grabbing my pen as a microphone and singing to you, while the middle school kids spontaneously join in as background singers and and flash dancers.
Wooooooaaa! Just going to Starbucks is only half way theeeerrrree! Woooaaa! Livin’ on a prayer (if you think this is studying)! Take my polite suggestive interjection based on actual data constructively and we’ll make it to adulthood I sweeeaaarr!”