For The Love Of Reading, We Need To Take Time To Read For Pleasure

For The Love Of Reading, We Need To Take Time To Read For Pleasure

Time spent reading for pleasure is never time wasted.

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This past semester, I was in one of my favorite English classes that I've ever taken. This class was a survey course, ENGL 3820, History of English Literature: 18th Century to Present. It was on the last day of this class that I loved so much that one of the professors shared a statistic that shocked me.

According to a study he read recently, at the rate it is currently declining, pleasure reading in America will have all but disappeared by the 2050s.

I was honestly stunned when I heard it. How could that many people stop reading so quickly? How could so few people be reading for pleasure already that we're even this close to it becoming extinct?

I don't have an answer to my question, but I can say that we need to turn this statistic around. For the love of reading, for the love of art, we need to get more people picking up a book because they genuinely want to, not because someone assigned it to them. I don't have answers, just a real passion for the written word and its power.

For me, books have been friends in lonely times, adventures when I feel stuck, a comfortable home when I'm somewhere unfamiliar or uncomfortable. Books have the power to make us feel things, the power to stretch our imaginations and broaden our horizons all from your favorite little reading spot.

In one of the hardest times of my life, books were more of a solace than I ever realized they could be. The comfortable weight of a book between my hands is one that I will always love. The smell of paper, ink, and coffee is one that will forever make me stop and just think to myself "ahhhhh."

This is why I simply cannot understand how reading for pleasure, the genuine love for reading, could possible die out. How can people suddenly not care that entire worlds are waiting for them to discover? How could someone not be interested in solving a murder mystery, exploring a haunted house, traveling the world, recovering from emotional trauma, or even pure fantasy? The more I try to wrap my head around the concept, the more confused I become. With the whole wide world of books out there, how can there not be at least one that suits everyone?

Is it a culture problem? Are we too overstimulated by technology? Is it because there aren't as many characters on TV shows that love to read anymore? Is it because people are lazy? Or can they just not find what suits them? Maybe we could fix the issue by encouraging kids to read like we encourage them to go out for sports. Maybe better funding to libraries is the answer. Maybe we all just need to learn to take more intentional time to read. To be honest, I have no idea.

The two professors left us by saying that they were sending us out as readers to help change that statistic, to prove it wrong. I'm not saying that everyone needs to become a big reader, but I am saying that we need to protect reading as an institution, as an art form, as a free expression of imaginative thought. It might sound like a little issue, but, for me at least, it's got big meaning and I can't stand to see it disappear.

Cover Image Credit:

Lily Snodgrass

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18 Ways The Disney College Program Destroys You

"I can only hope we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse" - Walt Disney
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The Disney College Program, three little words that may or may not forever change your perspective of the world. Working for Disney has been my dream since I was a little kid. That’s all I ever wanted to do with my life-- to become a part of the magic. It wasn’t just because it’s Disney World, the most magical place on Earth. It's because I truly admire everything that this company stands for. Disney is all about bringing families and friends together, creating memories that will last a lifetime and sprinkling a little pixie dust over this magical place that I’ve called home for eleven months. I knew all of this when I received that “Congratulations!” email. Excitement rushed through my veins . The world of possibilities had finally opened its door for me. What I didn’t know, was what those possibilities truly meant, until post DCP depression kicked in. It's a real thing my friends.

1. You are always going to be an extremely friendly and approachable person.

No matter where you are or who you are talking to, you can't help to smile. You always carry a welcoming vibe with you, no matter what situation you are placed in. Working for Disney taught you how to have the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with people. You learned that the best way to communicate is listening to everyone with an open mind, even if they’re screaming in your face about Test Track being out of FastPasses.

2. You are constantly finding hidden Mickeys in the real world.

Admit it, your mind creates hidden Mickeys out of almost every random three circle formation. You can’t help it. You have Disney on your mind all the time.

3. You are FULL of Disney Park fun facts.

Did you know that there are 11,324 triangles that make up Spaceship Earth?!

You love sharing your vast pool of knowledge of random Disney Park fun facts. Sometimes even when people don't care about it, you just have to talk about all the things you learned as a CP.

4. You also may speak ride spiel.

“We're not gonna make it, we're not gonna make it"- Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When you work for Disney, you live and breath Disney. You couldn't even count how many times you've been to the park, even just to hub grass and chill or ride the People Mover four times in a row. Those spiels were a part of your everyday life. You know when you are riding Hunted Mansion with a boatload of cast members when everyone in the stretch room whispers, "I am your host, your ghost host". Going to the park almost every day is a part of CP culture. Accidentally referring to ride spells still sometimes slips into your daily conversation. Did you really do the college program if you don't know at least one ride spiel?

5. You constantly feel the need to get down the small child's level and talk to them about their favorite Disney characters.

"Hi Princess! My, you look dashing today, what Kingdom did you travel from?!"

What you would do to get back to the days when you were paid to sit on the ground to talk to a child dressed up as Cinderella. You see a child at your real world job and you feel the need to ask them about the about their favorite Disney movie. You catch yourself accidentally referring to people as princess in the real world, but it instated of the magic it used to produce, they look at you like you’re a crazy person. *sigh*

6. If your friends hear you say, ”So this one time in Disney…" one more time they may punch you in the face.

OMG-- this reminds me of this one time in Disney when...*insert story of an amazing day you and your Disney fam had here.*

You can’t help it, every single day was filled with an adventure during your CP. You want to share your stories with everyone you encounter. It's like word vomit. The second something reminds you of your CP there is no stopping you. Your friends back home may either get really annoyed or end up learning everything you did when you had free access to Disney World.

7. Boy do you miss the days when Mondays were happy.

"We love you Mondays, we do."

For some who were into the social scene, you blankly gaze out your window on a Monday night wondering what county you would have been playing at Son On The Beach. You watch your remaining CP friends' Snapchat stories and think to yourself, "Anzacs VS. Gayllerie!? Ugh, must have been a good game." You miss the days when your only struggle was to make it out of work on time to get to Happy Mondays. Your friends back home wonder how you are so freakishly good at flip cup. It’s a CP thing.

8. 90% of your best friends are long distance.

Skype dates are essential.

You created bonds with people from all over the world during your CP. You celebrated holidays with these people. You spent every single day with them during your time in Florida. Your program would never be as magical if it wasn't for the amazing people you met here. Some of these people turn into your life long best friends-- even if they currently reside 12 hours ahead of you. There isn't a day that goes by that you don’t think about you CP BFFs. When they say you will meet the most amazing people you will ever interact with working for Disney, they were not kidding. These people are even more than friends to you, they are family. If it means staying up till 2AM to Skype with your old roommate, who now lives on the other side of the world, it doesn't even cross your mind how late it is. Catching up with them is always worth it.

9. You probably have roughly 500 "I'm Celebrating" buttons.

"Happy squad-iversary!"

You found every excuse in the book to rock an "I'm Celebrating" button when you and your squad hit the parks. "I'm celebrating ERs" was a great one to sport when you got off work early. The button days were the special days. You could probably fill an entire cork board with all of the buttons you collected over your CP. Thank goodness for that, you'll have a tangible memory of those magical days for a lifetime.

10. The clock strikes 3:00PM and you know the Festival Of Fantasy Parade is strolling out of Frontier Land.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has come to take your places” -The Festival Of Fantasy Parade.

You continuously catch yourself looking at the clock around 3PM and feeling a little empty inside. To all the days before work when you watched that parade with your roommates, you were the greatest. You can always spot a cast member as “dreams that glow” blur down Main Street. They are usually the ones dancing along and singing as their favorite floats pass by. What you would do to relive those days.

11. You know a lot about the world and the people it's made up of.

I’d be real keen to learn about your culture over some Maccas, eh.

You know to never tell an Australian their accent sounds like a Kiwi's or visa-versa. You can spot the difference from miles away. You’ve learned the lads from down under are some of the funniest people you’ll ever interact with, and there are in fact, no kangaroos in New Zealand— just wallabies. You know that the people from Spain and Brazil are usually down for some fun and it's always a good time to kick back with your friends from France or The Netherlands. It's true that the Italians are loud and outspoken, in the best way possible. The people from Japan are simply the some of the sweetest. You meet so many people from all over the world and learn so much about their culture. You get more of a feel for all of the greatness the world is made up of than any textbook could ever explain.

12. You could draw a map of Magic Kingdom blindfolded.

“Nearest FastPass kiosk?!” “Down the pathway to the left!

Not only is Disney World your home, but you know every square inch of it. You could still probably give someone directions to the nearest quick service restaurant of your location, from wherever you are currently sitting in the world.

13. Applying for jobs? Disney always makes you stand out.

“Wow, you worked for Disney World? Tell me more about that!”

Your resume stands out among the thousands. Potential employers want to hear about your Disney College Program experience and you are over the moon to share. You tell them about the days where you immersed guests into the theme of your location and all of the magic you made. Working for the number one entertainment company is something to be proud of.

14. You are constantly checking airline prices to reunite with your roommates and get back to the place that started it all.

There is nothing better than reuniting with your Disney family. Your most visited web pages are airlines sites. You count the days where you can rule the parks again with your favorite people by your side. You can't help but to run to them in the middle of MCO with tears in your eyes and magic in your heart, ready to create even more memories together. You know you found forever friends in them, it's never goodbye— it's see ya real soon.

15. You have a strong emotional attachment to certain rides of shows.

"The best part is, you'll never run out of wishes"- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

There are some shows and rides that take you right back to the days where Walt Disney World was your usual hang out spot. Some of those shows have so much more meaning to you and the magic you made. You tend to get a little teary eyed watching them when you visit. Even when your CP is over, the magic lives on in your soul.

16. Disney is not just a vacation spot to you, it’s your home.

You feel at ease here. You may have even found who you are and who you aspire to be here. It’s a special place to you that holds so much magic. Going back feels familiar. You never feel like an outsider here. Walt Disney World really is your home and it welcomes you right back every time you return.

17. People who know you before your College Program say you've changed.

You're more outspoken, you are confident in yourself and you carry on with pride. Not to mention your work ethic and customer service skills are outstanding. You believe in things and the people around you. You believe in magic and that's all thanks to the Disney College Program.

18. It was the best 4 months - 1 year of your life and you would do anything to relive just one more day of being a CP.

"While no one knows for sure what we'll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we'll take and make together. See you in the future"- Spaceship Earth.

If you were given the opportunity to put on those extreme high-waisted polyester grandpa pants and that florescent shirt that was probably eight sizes too big for you— you’d do it in a heartbeat. Despite the long hours and blazing sun, sometimes your life felt like a dream. Your time spent working for the mouse will forever be your most magical days, as the Disney College Program was the best opportunity of your entire life.

Cover Image Credit: Dana Saccoccio

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Girl, You Don't Have To Try

Put your make-up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

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Colbie Caillat released the song Try on June 9, 2014. I knew that this song was important then, but when I heard it again for the first time in years it almost stopped me in my tracks.

Listening to this song again, caused me to reflect on just how much my perspective has changed since then. I have always struggled so bad with self image. I would tell myself that I wasn't pretty enough, smart enough, I was too chunky, I didn't have the right kind of clothes, and the list goes on. My younger teen self spent hours sobbing because I wasn't this perfect image of a girl that I had in my head. I used to think that there was absolutely no way anyone would ever like me just because of the way I looked. I spent so much time tearing myself down, that I couldn't possibly imagine thinking anything else about myself. The truth is I still struggle with this from time to time. I'll see myself in a picture with my friends and instantly I'll find something to knit pick about the way I look, whether that be my hair, my smile, or my figure.

"Wait a second,
Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you're all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing."

This is the mind set that I have had to try so hard to train myself to get in to. Trust me when I say that it's not easy by any means. I used to be the girl that could spend hours doing her hair and makeup every single morning, I would religiously lay out the cutest outfit I could think of the night before, and then when I'd get it all put together I still wasn't happy.

Then I started praying for peace. I found peace with the way my eyes wrinkle when I smile, the insane amount of freckles I have when I don't cover them with makeup, the way that I have curves that some girls don't, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Lastly, I'd like to say that I hope if you're reading this you can find your peace and realize that you're beautiful just the way you are. Also, if at any point in time you are with a significant other, or pursuing someone, and they insist that you need to change something about the way you look. Walk away. I do not say this lightly at all. There is a boy out there that will genuinely adore everything about you and would never ask you a single thing. Honey if he does, he's not the one and you can do so much better!

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