Make The Time To Read, Especially As A Busy College Student
Start writing a post

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.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.


Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

- Like face masks, hair masks are a great way to do a more intense treatment that tackles more specific issues like dry strands or an itchy scalp.

- I don't necessarily suffer from dandruff, but my scalp can get a little itchy post-workout and in the colder months.

- I tried the Malin + Goetz Detox Scalp Mask and it was a game changer — my scalp felt cleaner, smoother, and more refreshed than ever in five quick minutes.

- The mask is a go-to for a clean detox of my hair and scalp after I've put a lot of product in my hair or done a lot of styling to it.

Like most self-proclaimed beauty guru and product junkie, I've been obsessed with my hair and hair products for decades. For me, the goal has always been to transform my dry, brittle strands into thick, shiny, and silky ones.

For that reason, I've spent a lot of time (and money) on styling and heat products that have, at times, made my hair look great at the expense of excess product buildup and heat damage.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.


The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I'm A Student At Drexel University And COVID-19 Has Been Frustrating

My experience as a senior at Drexel University in Fall 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.


I am a senior mechanical engineering major at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Drexel already has a weird quarter term system, so classes began at the end of September. All undergraduate classes are online, either synchronous or asynchronous. However, most graduate classes are still in-person.

As of October 19th, Drexel has 14 active cases (13 students and 1 employee). There has been a total of 113 cases in the Drexel community (104 students and 9 employees).

Keep Reading... Show less

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.


For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sunnyside Foundation Raises $50,000 For Arizona Students In Need

The Sunnyside Unified School District Foundation helped the community come together to help students and families pay their bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sunnyside Foundation / Instagram

COVID-19 shut everything down, leaving some students scrambling to support their families while being enrolled in school. The Sunnyside Unified School District Foundation in Tuscon, AZ has worked tirelessly to raise money for students and families in need.

Keep Reading... Show less

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.


When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Odyssey Template: 25 Questions For My State's Elected Officials

"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We fought for these ideals, we shouldn't settle for less."


Whether you're interested in how democracy works, how stop signs get installed, or anything in between, this is your opportunity to ask questions. This is your opportunity to show current and future members of your community what, in your opinion, is most important as your town, city, and state are trying to put the best, most effective practices forward.

Keep Reading... Show less

Who is ready to fa-la-lall in love with holiday-themed sex toys that will make you jingle all the way? If you're biting your lip and your legs are quivering with excitement, hold on to Santa's sleigh reins because there are so many ways to celebrate the season.

Festive sex toys are here to bring you some holiday cheer. From candy cane flavored everything to bright red bows, there is fun for everyone. Feel free to treat yourself or add these 15 festive sex toys to your wish list.

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Reasons 'Hubie Halloween' Is A Must-Watch Halloween Film For October Movie Nights

Just knowing it's an Adam Sandler movie, you can assume it's funny but very ridiculous.


"Hubie Halloween" was just released on October 7. It follows Hubie Dubois in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween. He patrols the town to make sure people are safe. He's the kindest and caring person in the town and also the most bullied.

This poor man is scared of everything. He screams when he sees scary decorations and when people prank him. Definitely a laugh, but when I watched it, I felt bad for him. The one person that pulled at my heartstrings is Violet Valentine, a woman he had a crush on since high school. She's super nice to him and stands up for him when she can. It was great seeing someone, other than his grandma, on Hubie's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

While this is my first ever presidential election, I have voted before in others, including at least one other "off" year election. I can honestly say that one of the things that made voting for the first time interesting was that I personally don't really identify myself with either party completely.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

7 Ways You Can Volunteer Virtually In The Middle Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

Use that anxious energy from dreading the rest of 2020, and put it towards volunteering


Life has shifted from face-to-face to face-to-screen-to-face this past year. There's no need, though, to wait out the pandemic to make a difference from home. Rather than spending the unexpected free time the rest of this year dreading each day, use that same energy towards volunteering from the comfort of your bed or couch or patio.

Here are seven ways you can volunteer safely and virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments