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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

We all know the book is always better than the movie, anyway

The first few months of college can be overwhelming, to say the least. Students enter in August fresh off a three-month break from school and are immediately thrown into a whirlwind of change. Between classes, clubs, friends and housing, it all seems to happen at once. Not only this but it can be hard to find the divide between everything. In my experience, college made the different segments of life blend in a way that they hadn’t before. My school and social lives are suddenly not as divided as I have classes and clubs in the same buildings and class friends live down my dorm hall. I found this new blurring of boundaries disconcerting and disorienting, and I felt that I needed a method to gain more separation in my life.

Reading quickly became this tool – not only reading what is assigned for class but picking up a book and reading as a hobby. When reading, I feel no pressure to be doing anything else. In contrast, whenever I fill my free time scrolling on my phone, my thoughts are still scattered and distracted. I wonder if there is homework I could be getting done, people I should be talking to or activities to attend. However, when I actively set aside space to pick up a book and take time to myself, my thoughts do not wander farther than the words on the page and rarely to the different facets of my life that seem more and more intertwined. 

In reading I found a boundary, something entirely set apart from my day-to-day experiences and an escape to another world that I could enjoy for a time. In many ways, this is exactly what reading is: an escape. It is also a break. As hard as it may be for many college students to believe, there will most likely be some free time on any given day. I have found I tend to waste it aimlessly sitting on my phone or thinking about all that needs to be accomplished. Although these actions are common and not always negative, I am more productive in going about my daily tasks when I have some definite time away from them. Even if it is for only a couple minutes, reading gives me the space to take a mental and physical break and more productively accomplish all I need to later. 

There are also infinite other rewards to reading as a hobby. Firstly, it is entertaining! It is fun to be whisked to another place and learn about different people and their lives. In addition, readers can not only learn about others’ experiences but learn from these experiences as well. Authors have audiences in mind while writing, and there are typically purposeful messages that they are hoping to portray to their readers. Working to apply some of these messages to our own lives can be a productive and stimulating goal.

Reading has exposed me to many societal issues which I may not have otherwise learned about. Books can represent those who do not always have a voice and give them a way to speak out. Reading has also exposed me to more lighthearted things, such as new music, shows or even fashion. Whether it’s wanting to learn about a prevalent issue or reading a sappy romance, books have it all.

I will continue to read as a hobby in college. From reinforcing boundaries, giving me an escape and helping me to learn about something new, reading has a myriad of benefits that make it enjoyable and worthwhile.

Mallory Vaudo

Wisconsin '27

Hi! My name is Mallory and I am a freshman at the University of Wisconsin majoring in International Studies. I grew up in northern Virginia in a suburb of DC. In my free time I can be found reading, running, trying a new coffee shop or spending time outdoors.