Richards: Why I can’t get any work done at home

Jason Richards, Staff Columnist

While we are all enjoying the company of our families, pets and own rooms at home, this transition to remote learning has introduced a slew of distractions that most Case Western Reserve University students never imagined.

Whether you’re now doing more than just your own dishes and laundry as chores, or are missing the dedicated cleaning staff appointed to our academic environments on campus, we are all feeling the heat of distractions at home.

Specifically, those of us that have a full house of siblings and parents are most likely feeling it right away. Having one of your family members walk into a Zoom online class while your webcam is on is more of a real fear than you may think. Close behind is forgetting your microphone is on while your dog barks at the mailman. (I, unfortunately, speak from personal experience in this case.)

There are definitely pros and cons of being home, home-cooked food and lots of extra time on my hands is great, but this makes the working mindset much harder to get into. Time management is now on a whole different level of difficulty, and my dog is too cute not to take my attention away from homework to rub his belly.

I’m also a video game nerd at heart. It’s almost a prerequisite of a computer science major these days. I’ve forced myself to keep my gaming computer at home these last three years in order to focus on classwork without the extreme temptation. Now, distraction is only a click away. It’s just too easy. I do admit, though, it is a great way to keep in touch with friends in light of the current lockdown situation throughout many parts of the United States and other countries.

With my parents home from work, too, it’s a completely different environment behind every door of the house. My mother—a sales manager—has set up shop in the back room and joins in on conference calls at almost every hour. My father, an Uber driver and people-person at heart, is out delivering food for those of us who can’t get out to the store. Once home, he is reeling me in to watch movies or old sports replays at any time of day. That is for sure a better deal than going downstairs to my self-appointed office—once a storage room—and doing classwork. Again, distraction is always just one decision away.

I’ve definitely taken for granted being surrounded by peers in the same boat as I am in terms of class work and dedication to learning. The people you live with on campus become your family while you’re there. They are just as much your friends as they are the support system behind your academic endeavors.

With all these distractions, temptations lie behind every decision, and oftentimes it becomes a burden to my ability to do classwork. I’m fortunate enough to have access to the Internet, food and a stable income from family to keep my academic potential accessible. I’m also able to keep in touch with friends, and at the least distract myself from boredom in the midst of a global pandemic. 

Other students may not be as lucky, and may be feeling a whole slew of more serious hardships or academic distractions. The number of situations is endless, and the list of distractions is different for every student. It’s always important to keep up hope for a better world in the future, to stay safe and healthy and to cherish this extra time we get with our families and loved ones as much as possible—and try your best to not let those distractions get in the way of your goals and aspirations as a student. Though, that is, of course, much easier said than done.