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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

When I talk about reading, the most common response I usually get is, “I wish I could read more.” It’s understandable—reading in college can seem super daunting, especially when you seem to have a never-ending list of textbook readings and assignments. However, developing a reading habit in college can be really rewarding.

What I find usually separates the readers from the nonreaders is that people who have consistent reading habits have a better understanding of how to fit reading into their lives. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have an excess of time or are all recluses who spend every Friday night curled up with a book—not that there’s anything wrong with that. Frequent readers have just learned how to carve out space in their lives to spend time reading.

Discover Your Why

If you want to make reading an integral part of your life in college, you need to ask yourself: “Why?” No, seriously, I can (and will) tell you all of the tricks that I use, but if you don’t know why you’re embarking on this journey then I’m afraid there really isn’t any point.
Maybe you want to rekindle a love of reading or spend less time scrolling through Instagram or TikTok. Perhaps you want to learn more or have just run out of things to watch on Netflix. No matter what your “why” is, it’s imperative that you find it because it will set you up for success.

Be Honest

Now that you’ve got your “why,” it’s time to figure out your “how.” Just like studying, exercising or really anything that requires personal dedication, every reader’s journey is different. Reading isn’t a one-size-fits-all activity, nor should it be. Your best chance for success relies on you being able to have an honest conversation with yourself about how much you really can or want to read.

Not all of us (including myself) have hours to dedicate to reading. That’s totally okay. Instead of feeling like you have to carve out huge chunks of time to read, look for times in your day where you can incorporate reading into your schedule. Where in your day do you have a lull in your schedule? Personally, I like to read while I have breakfast and right before I go to bed at night. Getting to sit and read for a large period of time is a luxury for me, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still regularly enjoy reading. Like forming any habit, consistency is key. Once I was honest with myself about how much time I could truly dedicate to reading, it became much easier for me to make reading a regular habit.

Set Intentional Goals

Goal setting is a huge part of how I stick to reading. There are so many different goals you can set for yourself. A lot of people set reading goals based on the quantity of books they want to read. This can be a great place to start because it gives you a concrete goal to work toward and can be gratifying to fulfill. Websites like Goodreads or StoryGraph are great accountability tools that help you set a yearly reading goal.

If trying to read a certain number of books isn’t your cup of tea, consider doing an online reading challenge that gives you prompts for books to read or a list of reading recommendations to follow.

Read What and How You Want

Don’t read what you think you should read, read what you want to read. You know your personal taste better than anyone else. If you want to only read fluffy romance or spine-tingling horror novels, then by all means read those books! If you’re trying to build up a reading habit, it’s going to be much easier to stick to it if you make it fun.

It also might be worth exploring reading in different formats. Audiobooks can be a great way to incorporate more reading time into your day. You can listen to an audiobook during your commute, while you’re eating lunch, doing chores, or even working out. Free audiobook listening is available through apps like Libby and LibriVox.

E-readers can also be a great resource. It’s super easy to just throw my Kindle ($89.99) into whatever bag I’m carrying, and then I always have access to a book. If you don’t have access to a wide range of reading materials, e-readers can be a good solution. They are a bit of an investment but borrowing free e-books instead of buying physical copies will save money in the long run.

Find a Reading Community

Reading may feel like a solitary activity, but it doesn’t have to be one. Whether it’s online or in-person, finding other people who are excited about reading can be one of the most incentivizing and rewarding parts about building a reading habit. Your community can serve as a resource for accountability, inspiration and recommendations.

The internet can be a fantastic tool for reading inspiration. Just like most interests, you can find a community for reading on many social media platforms. Creators like Jack Edwards, Carley Thorne and Joel Rochester are wonderful resources for reading inspiration on YouTube. There’s also a multitude of talented and enthusiastic bookish content-creators on Instagram and TikTok. Just seeing other people get excited about reading is one of the best ways to motivate yourself to read.

There’s no wrong or right way to read. It’s cliché, but the hardest part is getting started. Once you’ve developed a reading habit that works for you, it becomes much easier than you think to read something in college besides your biology textbook.

Morgan Holder

Alabama '24

Morgan Holder is a sophomore at the University of Alabama. She is a Dance/English major and has minors in news media and the Blount Scholars Program. When she's not dancing or catching up on her assigned reading, she can be found trying to learn Beatles songs on the guitar or watching The Great British Bake Off.
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