"Reading for fun" in college seems like such an oxymoron. With hundreds of articles and thousands of pages of papers in the course of four years, it seems impossible. But whether you enjoyed reading as a kid and want to get back to that, or you never tried reading for fun and barely read for school, here are a few arguments as to why you should try and carve out some time to pick up a book or two of your own choosing.
1. You picked it
Something about freedom of choice always makes the result of the choice so much sweeter. The topping on your pizza, the movie you're watching for date night Friday night, or what time you're going out with your friends. The same holds true for books -- when your professor didn't pick it, it's that much more enjoyable.
2. It's a healthy way to escape the very real pressures of life for a while
No matter how great life is for you, there are days we all want to just get away for a while. And there is no plane ticket or tank of gas that can rival the places a book can take you. Plus, you get lost in someone else's problems, instead of just running away from your own.
3. You can revisit childhood favorites
"Harry Potter" and "The Chronicles of Narnia." I don't know what it is for you, but there's a reason they're still sitting on your bookshelf. They really are still that good.
4. Reading makes you smarter
It expands your vocabulary, makes your brain sharper, and is even linked to higher GPAs and more general knowledge. Chances are, that smart kid that got on your nerves in high school or who sits in the front of your hardest class reads a lot on the side, too.
5. You can do it with friends
While it might not be as hip as going out on a Friday or Saturday night, making a book club is cheaper and an interesting change of pace. Everyone takes something different from a book, plus it's a good excuse to make good food and catch up on life, without loud music blaring in the background.
6. It gives you something to talk about
I truly believe that you haven't seen a more beautiful expression of joy and excitement until you see a friend tell you about the book they've fallen completely in love with. And then you've got a new one to fall in love with, too.
7. It's free
Does anyone else remember the song from Arthur about library cards? You've got one if you have a student ID, and if you can't find anything worth reading in your school's library, you can sign up for the local one. Reading is a much less expensive habit than the coffee one you probably already have (thanks, college).
8. The book really is better than the movie
Cliche, I know, but it is so, so, so true. If anyone else remembers the disgrace that was the movie adaptation of "The Oder of the Phoenix," you know exactly what I mean. Even when movies get broken into two movies, there is still stuff that gets left out, and no amount of killer cinematography can make up for the lack of internal monologue characters get on paper.
9. It can help you sleep
I'm as guilty as the next girl of scrolling through social media for 30-plus minutes before bed, but studies have shown the light from our phone screen doesn't do us any favors when we're trying to get a good night's sleep. Reading relaxes the body and mind, and doesn't have the blue backlight that makes your brain think it needs to stay awake.
10. It can help with school
Remember the higher-GPAs thing? It also helps with retention and reading speed. Just like everything else, you get better at it with practice -- even if you're reading the stuff you don't really want to, like an economics paper.
11. It develops your imagination
You remember being read a story before bed as a kid and having epic dreams afterwards? Thank the book for that.
12. It isn't for school
And that in itself is reason enough.