Move-in day, back-to-school day, whatever you call it, people are going back to class. That essentially means: books on books on books. Regardless of the subject or your major, you’ll be assigned to read 45 books for four courses within the first two weeks (we’re thinking this number is basically accurate!). The horror, the horror. Stressful times like these are perfect opportunities for us to read more. Yes, you read that correctly.
‘Now wait just a second, Matt,’ is probably what you’re saying to yourself, ‘I’m knee deep in schoolwork. There’s just no way I’ll have time to read anything else.’ Well, hypothetical person, hear me out on this. Let me tell you about some of the benefits:
You’ll be reading something you actually want to read
Yes, yes. I’m sure you found Sartre fascinating for your Ethics 101 course that you thought would be a cakewalk elective. No disrespect to the brilliant French thinker, but there is no way anyone reads Sartre during their free time, except maybe to conquer their own existential dread. Let’s be real, when we’re reading something on our own it’s twice as satisfying and we tend to enjoy it more.
You’ll be learning time management skills
Blocking out time for yourself teaches you how to better prioritize your day. Blocking out some me-time is important for any student to stay grounded. You’re broadening your horizons through books and learning how to adult; two birds, one stone.
Reading a book outside of class will keep you sane.
Seriously, it does. Too many people have adopted the bad habit of reading with the mindset that they’ll be tested on it later. Instead of learning the material and fully understanding it, we only retain fragments. This leads to high levels of stress and pressure, frantically taking notes and highlighting every sentence because for all you know it could be on the exam. Who wants that? When reading on our own time, we take in the whole story simply because we want to. There’s no “life-altering” grade at stake. It’s a healthy escape from the daily pressures hounding the student population.
Disclaimer: I don’t have any scientific data to back this up, but I hope you will follow my advice just the same. Here are three books to get you started:
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (DoubleDay, August 2, 2016)
The newest addition to Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, Colson Whitehead provides a powerfully innovative masterpiece in historical fiction. Set in the Antebellum South before the Civil War, two slaves go on the run in search of freedom, with the help of The Underground Railroad. The cool part? It’s an actual underground railroad. A fantastic, fun read for all English majors.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight (Scribner, April 26, 2016)
A perfect book for anyone studying business or who wants to be successful. Phil Knight, the founder and board chairman of Nike, shares the story of how a small start-up became the world’s most recognizable sports brand. Vivid, honest, funny and at times, heartbreaking.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant (Viking, February 2, 2016)
Are you unsure about what you want to do with your life? Does every career path look boring and unfulfilling? Many of the world’s greatest minds felt this way, so they made their own way in life. Adam Grant explains to us why those who never fit in a box are the ones who actually move society forward. I suggest to everyone who hasn’t a clue what they want to do after graduation that they grab a copy.