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What It’s Like to be a Reader Who Doesn’t Read Anymore

Reading has always been my solace; my escape. I used to read a few books a week, or at the very least one book a week. Before coming to college, any waking moment of free time was spent with a book in my hand, or an ebook on my phone if I was at work (oops!). I would read after school (before homework), then again before bed until I fell asleep, waking up to find a book on my chest in the morning.

College completely changed that. I don’t have the time, the motivation or the environment to read anymore. There’s always some assignment I could be doing and when I read, I’m reminded of that fact even more, so then I just binge a few episodes of Gilmore Girls. Even in the spare moments when I’m not doing homework, I usually have to eat or socialize (okay, I don’t need to socialize but I’d feel judged if I didn’t). In addition to not having any time to sleep or breathe, I just lack the motivation to read anymore. What once used to be stimulating and interesting just tires me out now. After hours of classes and homework, I don’t want to have to think anymore, and if I’m not thinking while I’m reading, then what’s the point at all? I expected to read everyday and continue to balance homework, a social life, Netflix and books when I came to college, but learned very quickly that that was not the case. A 700-page book that was released in September took me until December to finish, meanwhile, I read three other books over the span of one week while home on break in December. I guess a lot of my reservations about reading stem from the environment of college.

In college, it’s expected of you to go out every weekend, or at least stay in and be under the influence of something. Even if you choose to stay sober, one or all of your suitemates will probably have a different plan. It’s hard to remain locked up in your room, or find a quiet space to just relax on a weekend night. The library is closed, the quiet study room is uncomfortable and your room is full of drunken friends, blasting music and laughing at an obnoxiously loud volume. Attempting to read on a weeknight is almost worse, as you only have an hour, if you’re lucky, between when you finish your homework and when you have to go to bed. But chances are, your roommate wants to go to bed at that point and the lights are forced off. Using a book light is always a feasible option, but it’s just not the same. Besides, if your roommate snores or sleep talks, it’s impossible to find a quiet moment, even when they’re sleeping.

The truth of the matter is that there is not a single good place to read where it is quiet and comfortable. Ultimately you are left to tough it out and sit in your room with headphones in, watching last week’s episode of The Bachelor.

A freshman Writing, Literature and Publishing major who spends her spare time drinking one too many cups of hot chocloate and advocating for the use of the oxford comma in her major.
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