It's Not Unproductive To Read For Pleasure And Not School
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Journey to The Center of a Book

Rediscovering a love for reading that I forgot I had.

Journey to The Center of a Book

When I was a kid, I would never stop reading unless explicitly told to, hiding books underneath my desk from teachers and only putting them away if I unfortunately got caught. While other children would run around outside during the summer time, I was cocooned in my room and read anything I could find on the shelves of my house. With older sisters, this meant I was reading Twilight by the time I was eight years old.

As I grew into a young adult and academia began to take over my life, I found no spare time to read purely for pleasure. Instead, I tried to force myself to enjoy the novels assigned in school. When a teacher said to read the next two chapters for class, I decided to finish the book. Once I approached my later high school years, however, I couldn't get myself to like SAT prep books or pages from AP exam guides.

Reading was no longer a fun past time, but simply a method to study for tests. I could no longer find any joy in something I used to be obsessed with. It was once impossible to take a book out of my hands, but now I hesitated to pick one up.

Even when I had the time to read for entertainment purposes, I couldn't focus on an entire book anymore. It felt like a waste of time to do something for myself, something that did not involve studying or prepping for a quiz. I tried to read books that were related to my academic interests, but it felt like another assignment pushed on me against my will.

Once summer finally approached and I had a little more free time after my first year in college, I wondered if I even had the ability to read for myself. Had my attention span suffered after years of reading quick Buzzfeed articles that only required a few minutes of scrolling? Could I even sit still and allow myself to be fully engaged in a novel, where the only reason to read was because I wanted to?

Eventually, the cure came in the form of boredom; I was so unbelievably bored without college papers and assignments that I needed something to do before my brain exploded from watching too many YouTube videos about life hacks and DIY t-shirts.

I found my way to my local library, a place I hadn't traveled to in years. I searched through shelves and shelves of different books, looking for anything that seemed even slightly enticing. Should I read a classic? Should I try a mystery? Should I finally try Fifty Shades of Grey?

I couldn't make up my mind, so I closed my eyes and reached for anything I could grab from the top shelf and ran with it. If I didn't like it, I could always come back and try again tomorrow.

I silenced my phone and put my laptop on the opposite side of the room, limiting potential distractions that could pull me away. I reluctantly opened to the first page, hoping that I could at least muster up the strength to finish a chapter or two, prove to myself that I could do this.

When I glanced over at the clock, hours had gone by. I completed over a hundred pages of this book, a book that I didn't even particularly like. It wasn't about being obsessed with every word, it was about allowing myself to just relax and enjoy a leisure activity without having flash cards ready right beside me. I deserved to sit down and just read, no expectations or fear about what productive activity I should be doing instead.

Letting myself relax is not a waste, it is essential. And I hope that when summer comes to a close, I can still make time to read just for me during the school year.

I'm not sure if my school library can supply Fifty Shades Darker, though.

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