Leigha Vegh
News Reporter

Only one student turned up for a Memory and Concentration Workshop supported by the Peer Assisted Learning Support at Humber North campus on Wednesday.

That student was Yuko Higuchi, a Multimedia Design and Development Program student, who came with the hopes of improving her memory skills.

“Memorizing is difficult for me because I have to translate into English,” said Higuchi, whose first language is Japanese.

Experts say weak memorization skills are a downfall, for a variety of reasons, for Generation Z, the cohort currently in its teen years and younger. One of these reasons is the influx of technology, and thus the demand for multitasking and an environment of constant distraction.

Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains, suggested that a break in attention can completely wipe out short term memory. Short attention spans are plaguing Generation Z due to technological and social media demands, suggesting that they may have a harder time than previous generation in retaining information.

Early Childcare Education student Ranji Saini, who created the workshop, said she wasn’t dismayed with the small turnout.  She had a slide show with tips for concentration, as well as a memory game for the sole attendee to play.

“With English being (Higuchi’s) second language, I was able to slow it down more and talk to her one on one versus having seven or eight people,” Saini said.

Jennifer Ricketts, coordinator of the Peer Learning Programs at the Peer Assisted Learning Support (PALS), said that the centre tries to draw attendees for such events but that students don’t pay attention.

“They’re distracted and they’re not taking in all the amazing supports that are available…to help them academically,” Ricketts said, adding that “a lot of them are on their cellphones.”

The average number of attendees is typically between one and seven, according to Ricketts. But that’s part of the appeal.

“It’s not as intimidating having a smaller group of students and the workshop leaders are actually students themselves, so they can relate,” she said.

After attending five sessions, students get an official co-curricular record which they can show to future employers, Ricketts said.

“For students it really shows…(they’re) taking initiative to develop skills,” she said.

For Higuchi, the takeaway was to try and avoid cramming study into one long session.

“I could set a time and take a break. I feel like I have to memorize a lot and I’m under stress,” Higuchi said.

Saini suggested a more controlled alternative to traditional stop-and-go studying methods.

“Meditation is better than saying step away from (studying) because…(it) gives you a time frame,” she said.

With files from Meaghan Wray