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I can’t truthfully say that I’ve always loved reading. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy reading until I was seven and my dad started reading me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. After that, I entered a phase where I read as much as I possibly could. I’d read anything, no matter the quality. My parents didn’t mind because at least I was reading. It was wonderfully liberating, as a child whose television consumption was extremely limited, to be able to read absolutely anything and everything. 

Harry Potter may have been an advanced book for a seven-year-old, but it’s decidedly not for an eighteen-year-old. And yeah, maybe it’s a kid’s book, but it makes me happy, and I think that’s a good enough reason to read something. After all, reading for fun is about fun. I know we all have to do enough “real” reading in class, so why not have fun in our own time? 

For the past year or two, I haven’t been reading as much, mostly because I don’t have as much free time, but my love for it has in no way diminished. I brought my entire set of hardcover Harry Potter novels with me, in spite of what my parents said about it being a waste of suitcase space. For me, they’re like old friends I can go back to when I’m stressed or sad or just need a break. When I’m reading a book I love, it’s easy to forget I’m thousands of miles away from home. When I’m reading, it’s easy to imagine that I’m in my bed, or sitting in an armchair at home in Seattle. 

Since I got to college in the fall, it’s been really hard to find time to read. In the precious moments that I’m not in class or doing homework or at club meetings, I feel like I should be spending time with my friends, or trying to meet new people. I have awful FOMO. And doesn’t seem cool, exactly, to be the girl sitting in her dorm room reading when everyone else is out having fun or at a party. 

But reading is really important. It helps with homesickness but is also just something I love to do. I’ve been trying to find more time to read, even if it’s just a few minutes. I like to take the time right before I go to sleep to read, instead of going on my phone. It’s better for your eyes and everyone’s mom has told them how bad it is to be on screens right before they go to sleep.

I really think reading is easier now in our contemporary moment than it ever has been before. I’ve personally gotten really into audiobooks lately. It’s not quite as satisfying as reading a real physical book, but it’s a lot better than nothing and is more convenient when you want to read while multitasking. I don’t have a car here, but at home, I love to listen to audiobooks while I drive. Here, I will usually put one on while I’m doing laundry, or when I’m walking down to the KAC. 

I still believe, though, that there’s irreplaceable value in physical reading. The concentration it requires is really valuable—we multitask so much in our daily lives that it’s refreshing to something that forces you to be so focused. 

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Amelia is a freshman at Kenyon College. She's from Seattle, Washington, and in her free time she enjoys reading, swimming, and hiking.
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