It seems the majority of college students think of reading as a burden rather than a pleasant pastime. When did reading become such a daunting task? Did middle and high school just suck all the joy that comes with reading? Did we outgrow imagination? Are we forced to stick to textbooks and informational novels as adults?
Nay, I say!
Let's view reading as if it's a person we slowly drifted away from; an old amigo we need to connect with again. The relationship crumbled with time, and no one is to blame for that. That being said, it doesn’t matter if you read slowly, only like specific genres, or can’t read for long periods of time. Accept the call to action, pick up a new novel or one of your favorite books from the good ole’ days, and wrap yourself in a blanket burrito, because reading wants you back.
You might have some hesitation. Our cell phones and laptops are right by our sides like a clingy significant other, and they hate to compete. College students are busy individuals, too. Classes to go to, clubs to participate in, families to visit—the list goes on. However, once you start to view reading as a relaxation outlet and less of a chore, it becomes a part of the daily routine. The relationship between us and books is a positive connection to have and treasure. To make it even more enticing, I created a list of some useful tips and tricks.
- Find books that interest you
Have you ever read the Harry Potter series? What about the tales of Percy Jackson? Did you dive into the story of Pride and Prejudice? Ever pick up a copy of Catch-22? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, then good news! I also haven’t read any of these stories, and I honestly don’t plan on it. These books aren’t for me, and that’s okay. We aren’t mandated to read specific genres, authors, or series. No one is going to slap handcuffs on our wrists if we’ve never read every best-seller. If you find a genre you enjoy, then dive deeper into that genre! Find the character tropes you connect with. Look for the writing style that pulls you in. You decide what you read, so read what you enjoy.
- Create a Reading Playlist
Do you ever wonder why to get so entranced with movies and television? It might be because of that music playing in the background. This music is specially designed to add humor, increase tension, and improve audience emotion. Music can be a book’s partner in crime and can improve your interest and entertainment. Create a playlist of music that you enjoy or find a playlist online. Personally, I like to take video game orchestra music and listen to these songs in the background. It also helps to play different songs for different parts in the book. If you are reading about a huge fight scene in the climax, play some energetic battle music. I’ve organized my playlist from relaxing to final boss fight, making it easy to scroll through and find the perfect background music.
- Utilize the Sense of Smell
Our senses play a critical role in our focus, and smell can be just as important as audio and visual. You can light a candle on the coffee table as you read and allow the sweet scent to drift into the air. If you're stuck in the dorms, utilize some perfume or cologne and spray it on your hands or in the room. I especially like to use aromatherapy hand lotion, or travel to the local coffee shop and breathe in the glorious smell of coffee. Scents keep our attention to the present moment, they ground our thoughts from flying away. This might sound a little weird, but give it a shot!
- Read Every Day
This is a huge struggle for a lot of us. We're busy college students with tests to study for and assignments to complete. But, reading every day builds a habit, which later forms a lifestyle. You don’t need to read 100 pages a day, you can set the limit based on your schedule. It also helps if it’s roughly the same time every day. Personally, I like to read early in the afternoon. Even reading 5 pages brings you that much closer to the next plot twist, the climax, or the ending. Just try to find time every day to sit, relax, and continue the story.
- Read Aloud
I just discovered this trick and I’m a huge fan. When it comes to reading non-fiction books, reading aloud can help comprehension and improve creativity. With fantasy and fiction novels, being your own narrator can help you better connect with the story. You can also mouth along, or mutter, but this is another great way to stay in touch with the story.
These are just a few of the tips and tricks I've been using the last few months, but if they don't work for you, don't give up. Do more research and find out what works best for you!