I made a crucial decision four years ago to give up living on my own and move back in with my parents and finish my education, but as satisfied as I am with that decision, I listen to the comments made about living at home and have to shake my head in disagreement. Yes, rent is no longer a constant worry, and yes, saving money is easier, but that does not make living at home a cakewalk, especially for a university student desperate to keep her GPA from falling below 3.0.
I have learned several things in attempting to study in a household of five other people: First, it is unbelievably easy for the mind to drift when listening to retro cartoon theme songs. Also, it is a very bad idea to try overpowering one sound with another. And even though I love my family, when the walls are paper thin, even the softest rustle can echo like a car horn.
Writing an essay in my home is a race against time. Not only am I dealing with deadlines set by my professors, I am given a very small window of silence. The window is so small that sometimes I miss it, resulting in chaos. This chaos comes in the form of cartoon characters suddenly taking the silence hostage from two in the afternoon to about three in the morning.
Imagine sitting in the golden pool of light provided by one lamp, elbow rested on the edge of a small table, hand on your forehead as you sit in front of your computer screen. The brain is churning with ideas for a conclusion to a 1,500-word essay on the complex poetry of Ginsberg and suddenly it happens. Across the hall, in the small bedroom occupied by your little sister, a song starts up — the Spider-Man theme song.
The web you have weaved with complex and elevated language is immediately eliminated by the childish theme song that, for some reason, has a tight grip on your brain, forcing you to mouth along; any chance of finishing the essay is destroyed.
My little sister became obsessed with watching Teletoon Retro when she was home; hours and hours of retro cartoons played over and over and over until, even when I did have a moment of silence, I could still hear them as though they had been burned into my brain.
The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show was a favourite of my sister, so at five o’clock in the evening, the volume on her small television increased and I would have to abandon my studies in favour of an equally loud selection of my own music. I tried using this technique to study, but I realized that I had just layered one distraction on top of another, making it even harder to concentrate.
I am not complaining about my circumstances because I know the financial difficulties that come with living on your own and going to school; there are always going to be advantages as well as disadvantages attached to every choice.
My choice to live at home results in Bugs Bunny or Spider-Man finding their way into my homework; be it an essay or a take-home midterm, they are there to provide a distraction. Of course, this is not so much a problem for someone who is the only child in their family — in which case I officially hate you.