The face of literature has changed over the past ten years. According to Forbes, this generation reads more than any other generation ever has. Believe it or not, millennials ARE reading, they're just not reading the same stuff that past generations did. Teens and young adults read twitter feeds, emails, Instagram captions, Facebook posts, and text messages. We may be reading but we surely aren't growing.
If you ask most people my age whether or not they read, their answer is usually something along the lines of, "yeah, I read all day every day....on my phone". But the reading we're doing is keeping our brains in exactly the same place they were before. We're not learning about new places, or events of the past, or even learning new words. Most of the time, we're shortening and misspelling the words we already do know.
I spend a good amount of my time pretending that I love to read and that I read all of the time. In reality, I'm only reading when I absolutely have to and I find little to no joy in books. Coming from someone who grew up loving books, this realization has been a hard one to realize. My brain has stopped growing like it should and there's no doubt that it's because I've stopped finding joy in literature. Netflix and Hulu may provide entertainment but as far as our brains, not much along the lines of strenuous thought is happening.
Reading does to your mind exactly what exercising does to your body. It gets your brain thinking and your blood flowing. I've realized sitting in class over the past month or two that my ability to recall information is substantially less than before. I feel like most of the time, my brain is full of sludge. Looking back, of course, it feels that way. I haven't been working out my brain at all.
The trick to reading is to read what you love. If you're a fan of sports, read about sports. If you enjoy romance, read a top-selling romance novel. More often than not I find myself reading what others have liked rather than what I would like myself. Reading about what you're interested in makes it nearly impossible to put your book down. Reading about something you love is a great way to end a long week.
College students do not sleep enough, that is certainly not a secret. Doctors have proven over and over again that the blue light from screens messes with the sensors in our brain and therefore makes it hard to sleep. Picking up a book before bed prepares your brain for a good solid night of sleep.
When we were kids, getting to read a book was considered a reward for good behavior. We wanted nothing more than to buy a new book at Barnes and Noble or have mom and dad read to us before bed. It's about time that we stop looking at reading like a chore. The millennial and surrounding generations are consistently expressing the importance of working out their bodies, why would we not want to keep our minds healthy too? They certainly last longer. This summer, reward yourself. Pick up a book instead of your phone. Start a series on paper instead of on Netflix.