How to keep reading during the school year

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It is now nearly the end of August, which means we’ve officially reached the ‘Sunday’ of summer. In just a few short weeks classes will be starting up again, and that means it’s back to textbooks, group projects and late nights writing essays, not to mention all of the extracurricular activities and weekend de-stressing.

With such a full schedule, how could any college student be expected to find time to read for fun?

Making reading part of your daily to-do list can make finishing a book seem less daunting. Photo by Meg McIntyre.
Making reading part of your daily to-do list can make finishing a book seem less daunting. Photo by Meg McIntyre.

Let’s be honest. I don’t think anyone expects college students to read for fun. That time is reserved for nights out and Netflix, right? But if you’re like me, reading is relaxing and sometimes cathartic in a way that Netflix just can’t replicate. Here are some tips on finding the time to read during the busy school months.

Cut the Phone Time

How often do you look up and find that you’ve been sitting on your bed and looking at your phone for over an hour? Sometimes we lose track of time when using our various electronic devices, and that time could often be better spent studying, exercising or—you guessed it—reading. Next time you realize you’ve been playing with your phone for much too long, pick up a book and read for just 10 or 15 minutes.

Set a Page Goal

If you have a goal for how much you’d like to read, you’re much more likely to do it, and by reading just 10 pages a day, you could have a short novel finished in a little over a week. Ten pages is much less daunting than that 40-page textbook reading, and your brain will be thankful to read something it actually enjoys.

My personal reading nook. Photo by Meg McIntyre.
My personal reading nook. Photo by Meg McIntyre.

Bring Your Book Everywhere

How many times have you found yourself standing in an insanely long line with nothing to do? Always have a book (whether virtual or paper) on hand for when life’s inevitable boring moments pop up. Now time usually spent checking Facebook for the 15th time that day can be spent finishing another chapter.

Create a Routine

Everyone has their little rituals throughout the day, like a requisite cup of coffee in the morning or an aromatherapy lotion before bed. Adding a little reading time into your routine can make the act of reading much less daunting and much more enjoyable. Try reading a few pages while you eat your breakfast or a chapter or two to help you fall asleep.

Make a Reading Space

Find a place you can escape to for your reading time. It’s best to find somewhere that you don’t go to study or do other work so that you can truly relax while you’re there. Maybe it’s a favorite coffee shop, a specific chair in your living room, or one of your favorite trees on-campus. For suggestions on where to read on-campus, check out one of my previous blog posts,The best spots to read on-campus.”

Do you have suggestions on how to read more during the school year? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook and we’ll add them to the list.

Meg is a senior from Fort Collins, Colorado triple majoring in English, French and journalism studies. She is passionate about queso, social justice and most of all writing, and has been part of the Clarion staff since she first arrived at DU in the fall of 2012. Her other interests include re-enacting "Pitch Perfect" (read as: performing with her a cappella group), mastering the art of lipstick application and dismantling the patriarchy. Meg was the Clarion's Entertainment Editor prior to being hired as Executive Editor. Her work has also appeared in publications such as the University of Denver Magazine, Denver Hotel Magazine, Foothills Literary and Textual Journal, Denver Life Magazine and the Denver Business Journal.

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