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The Ultimate Guide for the College Reader – Reading Habits as a Student

Reading has always been a big part of my life. But, since beginning college, balancing schoolwork, a social life, work, and newfound “adult” responsibilities like cleaning and running errands, it’s been hard to read the way I used to. Reading went on the backburner for a while and it was hard to find motivation for pleasure reading. It’s taken me a bit to find reading habits that have allowed me to feel more like myself and enjoy reading again while being organized and not compromise my responsibilities. Read on for some of my tips!


Setting Goals For Yourself


Being organized is something that keeps me grounded when college gets crazy. I love using the website (and app) Goodreads to set a yearly goal for myself, keep track of where I am in the books I’m reading, and to even see what my friends are reading and get recommendations for my next read. I can see clearly what books I’ve read over the years, and I can easily keep a list of books I want to read next. Having this information laid out for me in an app makes it so much easier to process because I feel like there’s a load taken off of my brain. Goodreads helps me keep my habit organized for me, AND it’s a bookish social media site!


Reading More Than One Book at a Time

Reading several books at once used to feel like giving up to me. I would never pick up another book until I finished the one I was on. But sometimes I’m just not in the mood for the book I’m working on, and because of that, if I’m not reading any other works at the time, I just won’t read anything at all. This is much easier to do if you use an organizational tool like Goodreads, but one day I’ll pick up some poetry when I’m not in the mood for that historical fiction I was reading. It’s not giving up on the first book, it’s just working on another one until I feel like picking it back up again. This was one of the reasons why I didn’t read much in August because when I wasn’t liking the book I was working on, I’d end up in a cycle where I wouldn’t read anything at all for a while.


Get a Local Library Card


Let’s be real. Books. Are. Expensive. Do I even have to remind anyone how expensive everything about college is? Most of the time, even if I order off of Amazon or thrift at used bookstores, I’ll have to dip into my grocery budget to buy that next book in the series I’m reading. I live in NYC, so I’m lucky enough to have access to tons of NYPL locations. This may seem obvious, but where I’m from, the public library is basically one big room with a bunch of stacks from before 1992. The NYPL has thousands and thousands of titles though; not to mention an app that you can borrow immediate ebooks and audiobooks on FOR FREE.


(AND, if you have a New York public library card, you can now get free access to 30+ NYC museums!)






I’ll be honest, I used to see ads for Audible when they sponsored my favorite Youtubers’ videos, and I’d always skip it. Audiobooks are (usually) expensive, and you’re just renting an mp3 of someone reading to you. I used to be quite pretentious about this and thought audiobooks and ebooks would never live up to having the actual, physical book in your hand. But 1.) dorm rooms leave very little space for a personal library, and 2.) listening to books while you get ready is super productive! I’m a dog walker, so a lot of the time while I’m commuting from one residence to another, I’ll listen to the latest book I’m reading (for free, because I have a NYPL card and I can get them on the app) or, because I’m a dance minor, I’ll listen to audiobooks while I stretch and condition. This has doubled the amount I’ve read this past month. Any book title you think of, there’s a good chance there’s an audiobook for it!


Read on Your Commute


If you commute every day to school or work, that’s a perfect time to get some reading in! I take the subway every day, so I usually bring a small paperback book in my bag for the ride there and back, but if you drive or walk to school or work, you can pull up an audiobook! I used to listen to music or just SIT there, and I can’t believe I didn’t make that time of my day more useful before.


Find Your Favorite Reading Spot


Reading doesn’t always have to be cramped up in your bedroom. Put in some headphones, play quiet classical music, and find somewhere that surrounds you with peace. If you’re in NYC, I love the Elizabeth Street Garden in SoHo, Central Park, Washington Square, the Astor Place Starbucks, Stuyvesant Square park* and sometimes an empty art studio or dance studio at my school between classes.


*at Stuyvesant Square Park, there is a (free) take-a-book, leave-a-book station!



Reading books has and always will be one of my favorite things in the world, and it doesn’t have to be a chore. Because I love it, I didn’t give up on it once the college lifestyle got hectic. I even urge my roommates to read more because I truly believe reading is one of the most important things a person can do. In any form, at any time that works for you, no matter what genre, try to read more in your daily life. School work ALWAYS comes first! But you don’t have to sacrifice what you love as long as you keep organized and find what works for you.


Samantha Chicca is a 20-year-old student in NYC majoring in photography and minoring in dance at Marymount Manhattan College. Here you'll find articles about her job as a dog walker, her love of reading, her lifestyle, and other interests!
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