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September 4, 2018

How to Keep Reading for Fun in College --- Guest Post by Intern Ana Couto

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The prospect of reading for pleasure in college can seem like an impossible task, especially when considering that most homework assignments consist entirely of reading a ridiculously large amount of text that is guaranteed to put you to sleep. But as someone who is an avid reader and about to enter their junior year of college, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way on how to find time to read for pleasure whilst navigating a busy college schedule.


1. Make sure to always carry a book with you.

College is not like high school; you will not be obligated to bring your over-priced, 900-page textbooks to class --- which means there is plenty of room left in your backpack for your book of choice! You never know when you might find yourself with 10-15 minutes of free time in which you have nothing to do --- maybe your professor is late or you were let out of class early and have some time to kill before meeting your friends for lunch. Instead of reaching for your phone in those moments, you can squeeze in a few minutes of reading time if you have your book with you. It’s unpredictable, but trust me, it will happen more often than you think.

2. Check if your university has a book club.

Many people love to read, and chances are you’re not the only bookworm at your school. Most colleges nowadays have several extracurricular activities for students to choose from, so do a little research and find out if your university has a book club --- and if it doesn’t, start your own! Reading along with other people can be a great motivator to make time for your books.

3. Read what you love.
It goes without saying that throughout your time in college, you will likely have to struggle through a plethora of reading assignments that will make you question whether you ever enjoyed reading in the first place. The trick to avoid falling for this trap is simple: Read what you love! What genres do you find yourself consistently gravitating towards? Fantasy? Romance? Thrillers? Memoirs? It may seem like the last thing you will want to do is read more, especially after spending hours with a sleep-inducing philosophy textbook, but a good page-turner in your preferred genre can definitely ensure that by the time the semester is over, your love of reading is still going strong.

4. Set a weekly reading goal.

Once classes start and you have a good handle on how to juggle your responsibilities, it might be helpful to establish a weekly reading goal for yourself --- and how you measure it is up to you! For example, you could set a time frame of one hour of reading per week (or however much time works for you), or you could set yourself a page limit to complete each week. This method isn’t for everyone, but if you think it might help you keep on track of your reading, then definitely try it out! But remember --- it’s important to be realistic with your goals. Don’t try to read two books per week if you know you can’t commit to that amount.

5. Experiment with different book formats.

College is all about seeking new experiences, so why not do the same with your reading escapades? I recently just got into audio books, and now the amount of books I typically consume in a month has nearly doubled. I can walk to class, do my laundry and clean my room all while listening to a great book. Other formats of storytelling that may appeal to the busy and permanently sleep-deprived college student are graphic novels and short story collections. Graphic novels are great because they read relatively fast, and the graphics component can appeal to visual learners as well. Short stories are also fun because you can dip in and out of a collection at your own pace --- you can start and finish a story within a matter minutes, and it could help you stick to a reading habit if you focus on one story at a time.

Overall, these tips have definitely come in handy for me on days in which I thought I would have to completely give up my reading time. But remember to set realistic expectations for yourself, and keep in mind that college is all about time management --- if you love reading and it’s important to you, make time for it!