College students should read for fun

Pleasure reading is relaxing and makes one well-rounded 

By Madelaine McBride

As college students, we are no strangers to reading. We are often assigned far more reading for our classes than we think is humanly possible to accomplish, yet we do it anyway.

I would not go so far to say that reading for classes is enjoyable all the time. In some cases it may be, but for the most part when college students read we are reading to learn information, not for pleasure. However, I would argue that reading for fun, while it may seem like a waste of time, is more beneficial than most college students give it credit for.

The main benefit of reading for fun is that it is relaxing.

In college, students are constantly busy, buzzing around from one thing to the next like bees pollenating flowers. After all the day’s activities are done, most students don’t even want to think about reading anymore. Netflix, pizza, and a cozy blanket sound a lot nicer to a lot of people instead of picking up a novel and thinking some more.

Yet what people don’t always realize is that reading for fun isn’t like reading for school. When reading for school, one engages in active reading, meaning they are paying particular attention to the content in order to glean information. On the other hand, reading for fun is considered passive reading, meaning that the reader only has to pay attention enough to know what is going on in the plot.

Right off the bat we can see that reading for school and reading for fun don’t even involve the same amount of energy to complete. So instead of watching Netflix or scrolling through Facebook to relax, why don’t people pick up a Harry Potter novel or the latest Stephen King book instead?

Another benefit of reading for fun is being able to connect to the characters.

When reading novels, we are privy to the characters’ thoughts and emotions. We see everything they see and know everything they know: their thoughts, their fears, their deepest desires. As a result, it is not uncommon for people to form attachments to characters while reading. Anyone who has read Harry Potter knows what I’m talking about because when certain characters die people actually cry about it.

Granted, I’m sure there are some people reading this and thinking “Why in the world would I even want to connect to a fictional character? That’s do dumb.”

True, it may seem odd to some. But connecting to fictional characters and caring about fictional characters helps us to understand and connect with people in real life better. By living inside the heads of fictitious people, we get used to looking at people through their worldview, and so it becomes easier to do the same for real-life people.

A final way in which reading for fun is beneficial is that it helps you to become a better-rounded person.

If we as college students all only read about one thing forever and never read about anything else, I think our lives would become kind of boring. No change in reading material would mean no diversification, and no diversification would lead to people with some pretty flat educations.

Now, I am not trying to say that focusing on studying one subject is bad, because it’s not. It’s very good. What I am trying to say, however, is that when people simply refuse to do anything outside of their immediate educational requirements, they are willfully allowing themselves to become ignorant about certain subjects. Hence by reading for fun, college

students can help themselves to learn more about topics they might not have necessarily learned about, and it can help them to become well-rounded.

I understand that not all people enjoy reading for fun. I didn’t enjoy reading for fun until I was 12, and now that I’m in college I often struggle to find time to read things that aren’t required. But if you do have the time, I suggest that you fill that time with the magic of the written word, and allow yourself to become immersed in worlds beyond your wildest imaginings.

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