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Having No Time to Read During University (& Some Tips to Help)

I don’t have any time to read for fun anymore and I DO NOT like it.

When I was in elementary school, I was known as the girl who reads. Talk to anyone who knew me when I was growing up and they’ll tell you I’m the girl who can read seven books in seven days, the girl who could walk home without needing to look up from her book, the girl who read the fifth Harry Potter book in three days and who read 50 books one summer (yes, these are all brags. I used to be a reading god and I will milk that forever.)

But then high school hit, I got a phone and I started watching TV instead of reading. Then I got to university, and I started actually wanting to read again, but with all the course readings, assignments, classes and everything else, there’s just no time. Or, if there is time, I’m always too tired to read and choose to watch TV instead.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s been struggling with this. So, for any of you out there who share my pain and who want to get back to reading but don’t know how to make the time, here are some quick tips that I hope will work.

Pick a book that grabs your attention

On a good reading day you can force yourself to read something you’re not particularly into. But for someone who’s just trying to get back into reading, you need to make sure to pick something engaging enough that you’re going to want to choose it over your phone.

Pick something short and manageable

Again, it can be fun to tackle a massive book or series, but it’s not the most practical idea when you’re just getting back on the horse. Avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the book series you’ve tackled and pick something interesting, easy and not too long to help you get started.

Bring a book with you to class

This has helped me out quite a bit actually. I keep a paperback in my school bag or purse so that if I get to class early or have time between classes, I can pull out my book and read rather than pulling out my phone.

Replace idle scrolling with reading

Idle scrolling is that thing we all do where we pull out our phones and scroll mindlessly, even though we’re not actually looking for anything in particular. I for one am SUPER bad for this, but I’ve found that having a book on me, particularly a book I’m really into, can help me resist the urge to idle scroll and choose instead to read a couple pages of my book.

Read for 10 minutes before bed

We’re students and we lead busy lives. That means it’s unrealistic to assume you’re going to be reading three hours a day. Instead, take the time to read for just ten minutes before you go to bed. This can be a good way to clear your mind before sleep, avoid exposing yourself to too much blue light before bed and help you regulate your sleep schedule. I find that when I’m on my phone, 10 minutes can lead to three hours before I finally get my ass to bed, but when I read, even if it’s an amazing book, I can usually fall asleep at a much more reasonable hour.

Keep in mind that there are reasons you might not be reading, and that’s okay

There are lots of factors that keep us from reading. Schoolwork and not having the time can definitely be a part of it, but it’s also important to keep in mind that reading is a very demanding task. Your brain has to build an entire world in your mind to turn words into a story that you can see and connect with. Sometimes we’re just too tired to do that, and that’s okay. There’s no pressure to read like you used to as a kid, and there’s nothing wrong with choosing to watch TV over reading a book. Maybe you just don’t have the energy right now. Don’t worry, you’ll get back to reading eventually.So there you have it. Hopefully these tips and tricks actually work for you. I’m going to try them out myself and see if I can get back to reading for fun because I miss it (and I have WAY too many books in my TBR pile that need to be read).

Meghan Mazzaferro

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Meghan is an English and Film Studies major who has dreamed of being a writer all her life. When she's not writing essays and watching films for class, she loves to read YA novels and rewatch her favourite TV shows for the 100th time. Proud plant mama of 24 green beauties, and willing to adopt all the dogs.
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