Make The Time To Read, Especially As A Busy College Student

Do Yourself A Favor And Make The Time To Read, Especially As A Busy College Student

Make time to read outside of class.


I used to read two books every day. When I was a kid, I was incredibly bored in school. I wasn't challenged in my classes, giving me hours of free time during the school day. At this point in my life, I had no phone, and I had yet to buy my first iPod. My favorite pastime was reading.

My hundred-year-old school had an old, musty library with a selection of Jesus-approved fiction books. Over my ten years at the school, I read nearly every single one. I spent hours every school day in a fantasy world, slowly, unintentionally building my vocabulary and knowledge.

By high school, my homework had become more time-consuming, and I was reading less outside of class. However, during my junior year, volunteering at a bright, cheery library outside of Jacksonville, Florida reignited my love for reading. I dove into the genre of nonfiction, working my way through the library's sunny corner of self-help and psychology books. I wrote about what I learned in my journal. I soaked up self-help articles online and practiced writing my own for my high school newspaper. Reintroducing reading to my life opened up a new world of ideas and interests.

And then, a few months later, as my turbulent first semester of college unfolded, I completely stopped reading again. Like every other college student, I found juggling work, class, and extracurriculars too overwhelming to possibly fit anything else into my schedule.

I felt lost. I didn't know why until I went home for winter break and started reading again. My creativity came back, and my focus improved. My brain was flooded with ideas for my writing. Reading, I learned, is essential to my creativity and skill as a writer.

The benefits of reading are virtually endless. According to Lana Winter-Hébert's tremendously popular Lifehack article on the topic, reading can stimulate your brain, reduce stress, and improve your concentration -- all incredibly valuable perks for college students.

Hebert, however, lists another massive benefit of reading specific to writers. "Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one's own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work," Hebert writes. "In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others."

In this way, reading can actually enhance your technical writing skills. This makes reading an incredibly useful tool for writers and certainly worth working into a busy schedule.

And it's possible. Last year, even with three full months of virtually no reading, I read forty-nine books. Even in the busiest of schedules, there is time for reading.

"I read when I wake up in the morning, on the subway, on my lunch break, at the deli after work when I'm waiting for my usual sandwich, and before I go to bed every night," writes Stephanie Huston in a Business Insider article. "All time I had previously spent mindlessly scrolling on my phone."

This semester, I've been following a system similar to Huston's. Every morning, as part of my morning routine, I read some of my bible and then a few chapters of whichever book I'm in the middle of. Currently, it's Cal Newport's "How to Win at College." This combination of material sets a theme of learning and productivity for the day. Then, during any "in-between times" -- five-to-ten-minute stretches of time between classes, work, and meetings -- I read more, sometimes a physical book, sometimes an eBook on my phone, and sometimes a long-form online article. Then, to unwind at the end of the day, I read more before I fall asleep. All of the small spells of reading add up quickly, allowing me to fairly easily finish books on my own time outside of class.

This semester, since making reading an integral part of my schedule, I've noticed drastic changes in my creativity, ability to concentrate, and sense of purpose. With learning extended to the outside of the classroom, my college experience feels more fulfilling.

If you desire to start reading again, the best first step is to find a book that you want to read. Choose a genre or topic that genuinely interests you -- don't immediately make reading a chore when it can be a treasure.

Then, set aside time, even ten minutes, to read. Once you start, you will probably want to keep going. Throughout the day, as "in-between times" come up, spend a little less time on your phone and a little more in your book. Pay attention to changes in your motivation, concentration, creativity, and stress levels, and consider journaling about them. Notice changes in the quality of your writing. When you're done with your book, promptly find another one.

The concept of reading outside of class in college may be hard to fathom, but it can be done if you find a system that works for you. Sacrificing a few minutes of mindless phone scrolling is a small price to pay for the many massive benefits of reading.

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25 Of My Favorite E.H Poems

12. I might not have said those four words in the old and standard way, but I'd learnt that actions speak much louder, than anything that you can say.

So much has happened this week, yet I could not find any inspiration to write. Instead of creating a piece that I will never deem perfect... I have decided to share with you my favorite e.h poems that fill my Pinterest board. These poems always seem to speak the words that I could never write, they remind me that I'm not alone, and give me faith to keep moving forward... I hope they do the same for you.

1. You see, not knowing is what haunts you. The memories that never mend.

2. When others listen to reply, she listens to understand.

3. I don't make my connections deep, because I'm scared of what I'll lose.

4. I lend everyone my ear, but nobody my heart.

5. Let go, Let go, Let go.

6. When part of what you're made of always wishes to return.

7. There are people that fit in quite nicely, and people who try but do not.

8. And realize I never truly lived; all I did was just exist.

9. She hopes one day she'll mean enough, for someone to write about her too.

10. When your road is a dead end, it's likely that you'll find it's only really just a bend.

11. And it kills you right now, but with time it gets better.

12. I might not have said those four words in the old and standard way, but I'd learnt that actions speak much louder than anything that you can say.

13. All these empty spaces create a strange sort of pull that attract so many people you wouldn't meet if they were full.

14. You remember life much better when you don't view it all through glass.

15. She thought she wasn't needed, she could leave and they'd not care.

16. But where on earth are you?

17. You might have hit rock bottom, but it's the perfect place to start.

18. There is no title to say, "This is Me."

19. I promise spring is coming.

20. Would it shock you most to find, that the things you thought defined you, could be summed up in just two lines.

21. For you'll never truly find yourself if you're too scared to get lost.

22. 86,400 seconds and we're in another day.

23. And each tear that escaped her held the things she'd left unsaid.

24. For since you first asked me that question, you've moved five hundred thousand miles.

25. Just remember from the other side, your grass looks greener too.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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The Worst Book Covers Ever Made

I have a bone to pick with the people at "Wordsworth Classics".


Generally, once an author has been dead for over 70 years, his or her work becomes public domain. You might think about it like a sitcom getting syndication. When a book becomes public domain, it may be sold by any publishing house in need of some extra cash. This is why, for example, you can find a copy of the Great Gatsby from Penguin, Random House, and Harper Collins, even though it was originally published through Scribner.

This has lead to an enormous amount of creative freedom cover-wise. We've had more than a few mishaps.

I mean, what the hell even is that? This looks like a "Big Eyes" painting if it got left in the sun for too long.

Of all the sins I've witnessed in the name of literacy, I never thought I'd stumble upon something so laughably God-awful, so lazily slapped together as this:

If you're thinking, "something's off here," you're not alone. Say hello to "Wordsworth Classics", a division of a minor British publishing house whose main goal seems to be getting the original authors to roll over in their graves (70+ years on). I've compiled the worst of their collection for your viewing (dis)pleasure.

This is bad. I mean, I don't know what they were going for here, but thank God for that conveniently placed smoke.

I have a hard time believing Tom's Disney channel haircut was all too common back in the 1800s.

Man. 300 looks worse than I remember.


Everything about this is bad. The borderline copyright infringement Cheshire Cat, Alice's "Victorian" getup, not to mention the Mad Hatter, who is clearly the first man in Wonderland to receive a face transplant via photoshop.

Ah, yes. Moby Dick. Origin of the proverbial "White Whale", who apparently, was not actually white.

Why does "Dorian Gray" look like he's about to lecture me on how to brew the perfect IPA?

Robinson Cru-NO! This looks more like a bad porno than classic english lit...

Little known fact: when this book cover was sent into the publishers, Notre Dame spontaneously burst into flames.

This is not Dracula. Clearly, this is a photo of Oscar Wilde, who, after smoking an enormous quantity of marijuana at a Halloween party, believes that he is Dracula.

Even Harlequin Romance wouldn't sink to this level. Look how they're leaning against the fence! Is that even physically possible?

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