University students suffer from a mere ’10-minute attention span’, a recent study suggests. The research, undergone by Olympus Technologies, also shows 21 % of students are struggling to attend lectures and meet deadlines due to their need to support themselves with part time jobs.

A third of students link their short attention span to lack of sleep, due to being ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘unprepared’ by money issues and lectures. Suggesting a link between poor job prospects and poor performance, the survey goes on to state that  nearly half of all students fear “graduating with little to no job prospects, and high debts”.

One in ten students fear their university degrees will be a waste of money, and many feel that they are ill prepared for living a modern university life.
To combat these problems, an online guide to managing money published by Olympus suggests using online money-saving websites, joining the National Centre for Social Research in order to lessen student debt, researching credit cards and investing in technology, such as the Olympus brand voice recorder.

Recent research undertaken by Jonathan Schooler, a psychologist at the University of California in Santa Barbara, suggests that stress and mood are vital in their effects on attention span. Schooler also found that while alcohol decreases the frequency of mind-wandering, it also decreases the productivity in these mind-wanderings, causing an “empty space rather than a thinking space”.

In research taken out on a group of his students, Schooler discovered that their attention while reading, drifted roughly 6 times in an hour – agreeing with British students’ estimated ten minutes.

Yet Schooler’s research suggests that it is the time in which our minds wander that we are at our most productive.We may be more likely to make mistakes or fail to form concrete memories, but it is at these points that we are able to form complex ideas and digest the ‘bigger picture.’

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