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.

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

Podcasts are such an integral part of some of our everyday lives that it can be hard to recall a time at which they didn't exist. Podcasts exist on about every single topic, from dating to celebrity gossip and Harry Potter.

Now more than ever, it's likely you're reeling from the news, and (hopefully) wanting to do something about it in order to educate yourself. Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the most up-to-date information in a conversational, personal way from some of today's top educators, scholars, and theorists.

Keep Reading... Show less

Stop Pitying Me Because I'm Single, I'm Very Happy With My Relationship With Myself

I don't need your opinions on why I'm single and you're not. We are two different people.

I'm so happy for my friends when they get into relationships, but that doesn't mean they get to have control over my love life, and that is what bothers me. For the record, I've been in four relationships, one lasting for three years, so I do understand relationships.

Keep Reading... Show less

13 Books About Race Absolutely Every American Should Read, Especially Now

Books about black lives, from classics to new must-reads.

It's likely you are seeing the current state of the world and wanting to do something about it. Whether you're only beginning to or wanting to deepen your understanding of the black experience, these books are precisely where to start.

Some, like Maya Angelou's "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, are classics you've probably heard of, but may not have picked up yet. Others, like Reni Eddo-Lodge's "Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race," are newer hits.

Keep Reading... Show less

What's Coming To And Leaving Netflix In June For Your Summer Viewing Pleasure

Just in time for another your summer binge-watch list.

Paramount Pictures

The first of the month is now here, which means we will be losing some of our Netflix favorites but gaining some new ones.

Here is a list of TV shows and movies we will be losing and gaining on Netflix during June.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

I Was At The Atlanta George Floyd Protests, Here's What It Was Like Before The Violence Started

What started out as a peaceful protest quickly resulted in destruction, with mixed opinions leading narratives on both sides.

When I heard about the protests happening in my city in honor of George Floyd, a black man who was brutally and fatally detained by police in broad daylight, I was conflicted about the best way for me to support a cause that I was passionate about. The senseless killings of people of color in America had been weighing on me, and I was eager for a way to help, to do my part. I wanted to be out on the ground with my community, having our voices heard. However, there was the issue of the coronavirus, a very real and troublesome threat that is still controlling our daily lives.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

If You Can Eat Crap And Stay Thin You Aren't Healthy, You're Lucky

A high metabolism isn't a get-out-of-jail-free card!

Photo by Tarutoa on Unsplash

Everyone has that one friend — the one who eats to their heart's content but never gains an ounce. Meanwhile, you feel like you gain five pounds just stealing a glance at a hamburger! My childhood best friend was like that, much to my chagrin. Anyone who hadn't witnessed her eat might be tempted to say that she was thin because of her diet, but she would sometimes eat a bag of Sour Patch Kids as a "meal." One time, I watched in awe as she chowed down on a "salad" made up of one part romaine lettuce, two parts shredded cheddar cheese, and two parts French dressing — it was nothing more than a red lake of dressing with bits of green and orange debris floating in it. Clearly our definitions of "salad" were quite different, as were our perceptions of a balanced meal.

Keep Reading... Show less

I Started Dating A Guy Before Quarantine, But Now We Rarely Speak Unless I Double-Text

"He's really nice and cute and I like being around him when we see each other, but he's awful at communication."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments