Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to graduate college without reading.

Fun reading, that is.

I recently read a pretty great blog post by Stormy over at Book.Blog.Bake (here!).  Stormy's in college, and she outlined what her reading life has been like since she started her college career.  Her post made me laugh a little because when I was in college...

...wait for it...

...I didn't HAVE a reading life.

I know!  THE HORROR.  I feel guilty even admitting it to myself.  But alas, it is true.  College is the one time in my literate life when I had a near-cessation of all pleasure reading.

From my conversations with others, I've found that I am not alone in this.  A lot of people lose their pleasure-reading mojo in those four (or five, or seven...) years on the way to a university degree.  On the flip side, other students go on total reading binges in college.  I actually read several very active book blogs run by current college students, and I have to admire them for it.

Reason #1 why I wasn't reading in college: I was busy dancing like an idiot in dorm rooms.
Other faces blurred to protect the innocent.  You know who you are.
But why did my reading life shrink to nothingness in college?  Here are the main reasons I can pinpoint.

1. Too much OTHER reading to do.
Freshman year, I was a pathobiology major (nerd alert!) and spent all my time trying to figure out what a derivative was and not blowing things up in chem lab.  Sophomore year I switched to family studies, and for the rest of my collegiate life, I was left with the hell that all social science majors are familiar with: NEVER-ENDING TEXTBOOK READING.  No time for novels, that was for sure.

2. Too much socializing to do.
What can I say?  I lived on campus all four years, and there was always a party, concert, or midnight pizza run to attend to.  And even when I wasn't out and about, I was on AIM in my dorm room IM'ing everyone I knew and coming up with witty, pithy away messages.  Those were the days, AMIRIGHT?

AIM away messages: practice for future Facebook statuses
3. Too much work.
I worked 3 jobs simultaneously while I was in college, in addition to taking a full courseload.  I was fairly well booked all the live-long day.

4. Too tired.
With all the aforementioned stuff going on, I rarely went to bed before 2am and rarely woke up after 7am (on weekdays, anyway).  When I DID have downtime, the last thing I had energy for was a book.  Instead, marathons of West Wing (BARTLET FOR PRESIDENT!) and episodes of Late Night with Conan O'Brien were pretty much the only activities that could hold my attention for more than 30 seconds.

My senior year college dorm room.  NARY A BOOK IN SIGHT.  West Wing DVDs, 35mm film, and an overabundance of fluorescent colors are there to date me though.
THANKFULLY, during the last semester of my senior year, I reconnected with my love of literature.  I had a serious case of senioritis, and spent a lot of my free time getting back into the world of Reading For Pleasure.  What were some of the books that knocked me out of my funk?

Angels and Demons, and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

One of my friends let me borrow these, and I remember sitting at one of my jobs, DEVOURING them.  Nothing like a quick and dirty mystery to get you back in the groove.

Jemima J by Jane Green

I randomly picked this up at the bookstore and read it during my solo spring break vacation to Los Angeles (another story for another day).  This started my love affair with Jane Green, and was probably the beginning of my women's fiction addiction.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

My then-boyfriend-now-husband let me borrow this right before I graduated, and I was fascinated.  I quickly jumped into Krakauer's other available books afterwards.  And we all know about my adoration of JK.

So, collegiate readers, I salute you.  College is not an easy time to get lots of fun-reading done.  For those of you that do, keep on truckin'!  And for those that have lost their reading mojo, please have faith that your break is temporary, and the library will be waiting for you after graduation.

Now go down that Jager shot your roommate just poured for you, and don't give it a second thought.
Graduation day.  That face says, "Thanks for the memories, now where's my library card?"


  1. Great post :) I lost my reading mojo in high school. The literature classes were awful, demotivating, and I stopped reading (except for a couple favorites that I kept rereading). Rediscovered it on my sophomore year. And I salute everyone who can successfully run a blog and do the college workload.

    1. I salute them as well. I have enough trouble balancing work and family with my blog, but I was SO much more overbooked in college.
      For some reason I didn't lose my reading mojo much in high school, probably because the workload was lighter overall.

  2. You're definitely not alone. I'm in my sixth (?) year of college and am about to graduate next month, and I really feel like that's the only reason I've really gotten my reading groove back. Reading for so many classes all the time makes reading feel like a chore, and then I just can't even pick up a book for pleasure. I usually much prefer to watch television and just slowly feel my brain turn to mush. But, every summer when I'm not in classes I always get back in to reading. Stupid school. :P

    1. YES on the "brain turning to mush" comment. That's all I wanted at the end of the day!! No time for extra thinking activities!
      I did read a few books in the summers, but not nearly so many as I do now. I would fit them in when I had the time.

  3. Yeah, I didn't do any pleasure reading during college. I was so busy reading ethnographies that I couldn't even think of picking something else when I wasn't reading. After college, though, I went crazy. And then finally created my blog because I missed the discussion college offered, and, of course, the reading. Lately, I've even considered picking up an ethnography since I ended up in an entirely different field, so I guess it all comes around. LOVE the pics BTW!

    1. Ahhh ethnographies...I took enough anthro as electives to remember those!! And I agree about the first I just wanted to devour books on my own, but after a while I realized it was more fun to be able to talk about it afterwards as well.

  4. I definitely didn't read much that I enjoyed while in college, except maybe over holiday breaks. Right after college I hopped into a full time teaching job that I was completely unprepared for, so my reading suffered even longer. It took until the following summer and a few great books (including Into Thin Air!) for me to finally get going again.

    1. Luckily my first job had pretty standard (9-5) hours, so it made reading easy...but I could see how that would NOT be the case for a lot of new employees!

  5. That's a lovely photo of you on graduation day :) I started my blog before studying, continued it whilst studying, and now I'm blogging during a study break, so the effect is evident on my site. I'm reading a lot more right now. All the textbooks do take it out of you, because as much as you can choose a fiction book you're really interested in, when reading textbooks that story gets lost and instead and you see words instead. And words are in textbooks too, so it's repetitive and info overload.

    1. That's exactly how I used to feel. It took some of the fun out of my "fun" reading because it was just too many words...the monotonous textbooky ones would mix in my brain with the fictional ones. Too much brainpower required. :) I salute you!

  6. I love that picture, cutie patootie! ;) I can totally understand why you didn't get much pleasure reading in during those years. You're making up for it now ;)

    1. Haha thanks, oh to reminisce about my younger days...

  7. I didn't have a reading life in college either. I was always in the middle of a book, but only the ones assigned for class. I had a few seminars that required us to finish a book per week, and it was tough when multiple classes required so much reading at one time. I didn't return to my pre-college reading level until after law school.

    Great pictures, by the way! It looks like you had fun in college. I've been feeling nostalgic about those days with my ten year reunion coming up this summer. Where on earth did the time go?!

    1. Thanks re: the pictures! College was definitely an interesting time. Some of the best (and worst) times in my life happened there! Haha. I feel nostalgic about it all the 10 yr will be in a couple of years and I can't believe it!!

  8. LOL, great post! Cute grad photo too, I think we all go through non reading phases but somehow always find our way back! The path of book love doesn't always run smooth. Love Jemima J as well, haven't thought about that book in a long time :)

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

    1. "The path of book love doesn't always run smooth." Ain't that the truth! :)

  9. Jane Green kickstarted my chick-lit marathon that lasted for about a year! I didn't read much in college when I was 18, but I took off 8 years before going back and was able to read a lot during the second time around. Mostly because my husband would make me have "reading time" or else I would get cranky. But I definitely read less!

    1. Jane Green got me into women's fiction as well. I still adore her books. And good for you for having a hubby that forces reading time on you as "therapy"! Haha.

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