Reading Should Never Be A Chore

Reading Should Never Be A Chore

I became more concerned with fleeting soundbites and less excited by everlasting words on a page.

Some time between discovering Netflix and receiving my first high school reading assignment, I stopped reading books. My priorities shifted from finding out the fate of Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin after their encounter with the Man with Red Eyes, to finding out what happened to Agent Scully after she was abducted by aliens.

I became more concerned with fleeting soundbites and less excited by everlasting words on a page.

I know I’m not the only person with this problem, and especially not the only millennial. Millennials grew up in the midst of a societal shift from page to screen, from VHS to DVD to streaming, from CD to MP3.

Now, there’s an incredible amount of information available, and we expect to get that information in five seconds or less. If we don’t, we check our wifi connection. So, if books can’t be read, processed and understood in five seconds, then what’s the point of reading them?

But it would be irresponsible to blame this problem solely on the habits of my own generation. It’s not really our fault, anyway.

Yes, we may have shorter attention spans, but that doesn’t mean we’re stupid – we just process information faster. When boring required reading in high school is added to the mix, we can throw reading for pleasure down the drain.

When I was a kid, I read books like my life depended on it. Nancy Drew was my hero, Esperanza Ortega was my inspiration and Charlie was my pen pal. I used bubble mint gum wrappers to mark my favorite quotes, and I mastered the art of dog-earing pages to the exact word I stopped reading at.

But my love for reading halted the moment I opened "Fahrenheit 451" the summer before my freshman year of high school. I’ve read the book a second time since then, and I can appreciate it in all of my adult-ness, but at 14 years old, I had no idea how I was supposed to interpret book burning and reading the Bible in its entirety on the train.

For the first time in my academic life, I felt dumb, unable to understand the material I was supposed to be understanding.

This got worse as I moved through required reading after required reading. Eventually, I just stopped reading books altogether. I wasn’t keeping up with "The Heart of Darkness" or "A Tale of Two Cities" in my World Literature class, and I barely opened "House of Mirth" or "Jane Eyre" in my AP English classes.

Somehow, I still managed to get good grades in those classes, but that’s beside the point.

My distaste for the books I was required to read in school translated into a distaste for books in general. At that point, books took too long to finish, weren’t as important as binging “The X-Files,” “Glee” or “Friends,” had words in them that I didn’t know and were difficult to fully understand.

But I can’t blame this problem on the high school system, either. The books they make us read really are important, anyway.

It was around this time in high school that I got my first job. I only worked about 12 hours a week, but my dramatic high school self-thought this excruciating schedule excused me from completing my required reading.

Instead, I scrolled through Tumblr or fell down Wikipedia rabbit holes. I was completely turned off by reading and turned on to my phone.

The phone issue hasn’t gone away. I wish I could read for pleasure more often, but I just don’t have time – this time for real. And that bothers me.

I’m 19 years old. I shouldn’t be scrambling to fit time into my schedule to read a chapter of a good book simply because I feel the need to watch 13 YouTube videos in a row or try to beat another level of "Best Fiends" in between homework assignments.

But I can’t blame this problem on having a job, a lot of homework and an iPhone, either. Everyone else has the same problems, anyway.

I don’t know if there is any real solution to this problem. Maybe we can all take a cue from Andrew Sullivan and put our phones away for a bit, and we might end up finishing the book that’s been sitting on the nightstand for three months. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to read every now and then. Baby steps.
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Finals week is finally upon us. The time every college student has dreaded all semester and there is no avoiding it. Let the stress, tears, and sleepless nights commence. Here's Finals Week as Told by Schmidt.

1. When you walk into the library and see that there are no more spots available because every freshman decided to start using the library now.

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4. And then you get a call from your parents asking you why you've been so on edge lately

5. When you're three coffees deep at 2AM and believe everything will be okay even though you still haven't studied.

6. The day has arrived and it's time to take your first final so you give yourself a quick pep talk.

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To My SCCA Family, Thank You

A thank you to the office that made my Rowan career amazing.

When I was accepted into Rowan as a transfer student, I did not know what was in store for me. However, soon after my acceptance, I was asked to fill a position at the front desk for what was then the Office of Student Activities.

I took the position, because why not? The thought that crossed my mind was that it was a good way to make money throughout the school year. Little did I know that the office would offer me so much more than some spending money.

In August 2016, I walked into room 144 right on time for training. I soon learned that, in office terms, on time is late and late is unacceptable. I walked in as a shy and timid person, who knew only a handful of people, thanks to my sister. Almost as soon as I sat down, I began to quickly make friends. Some of those friendships have continued to grow to this day.

I was given countless amounts of opportunities I would not have gotten elsewhere. From the start, I wanted to be as involved on campus as I could possibly be. Every hour that I put into volunteering for the office events in the last two years are hours that I will never regret. I have enjoyed every single hour of volunteering.

I also had the pleasure of witnessing what some might call "the transition of the century": when OSA merged with the Student Center and became the SCCA. Our family grew and doubled in size. But with that, our friendships grew even stronger. The transition may have had some bumps, not very noticeable from my point of view, but being here in the summer and getting to witness the change firsthand was an honor.

I will forever recommend to anyone going away to school that the best way to spend your college career is to get involved. Because I was lucky enough to get involved in the office, I was fortunate enough to make some incredible friendships that will last a lifetime beyond the day I graduate.

I wish I could talk about every single person that I have become close with over the past few years, but then this article would turn into a book. Just know that each and every one of you hold a special place in my heart. But most of all, I was able to make some really amazing memories. In the last two years alone, I have made more amazing memories than I have in most of my lifetime.

So here's to you, SCCA. It's not really a goodbye, but more of a "see you later". Most of all, a thank you. Thank you for making my Rowan career the absolute best. Thank you for giving me a second home and a second family.

Thank you for giving me the many opportunities and abundance of knowledge that I will forever be grateful for. Lastly, thank you for giving me many friendships that will go way beyond the moment I walk across that stage in a few weeks.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin McHugh

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