Pop Culture

How to Juggle Being a College Student and an Avid Reader

Olivia Páez

Staff Writer

Olivia Páez is a Cuban-American journalism major. When she’s not writing articles for her classes, you can probably find her devouring a novel or watching a classic film. Along with reading and watching films, she has a hodgepodge of interests. Some of them include writing, sketching, traveling, dressing up as some of her favorite characters, and caring for the environment.

People often ask me how I’m able to read while also attending classes full-time as a college student. While it’s no easy task, I believe that anyone can make time, throughout their day, to read. Whether you’re able to fit in five minutes or half an hour of reading, we all can find ways to dive into novels in the midst of our busy schedules.

College is an incredibly busy time in any student’s life. A student’s time can get eaten up easily, between classes, assignments, extracurricular activities, internships, etc. This can leave them with no time to read for fun. But over the years, I’ve learned some tips and tricks to help me maintain a reading life while also being a college student.

Schedule Reading into Your Day

Creating a rigid schedule is key for any college student. While you ’re completing assignments, going to club meetings, or going to practice for a sport, you can also squeeze in some time for reading. I’ve spoken to many people who have made it a habit to read for thirty minutes before bed. This helps them unwind, relax, and step away from social media for the night.  Others may find time to read in the morning as they eat breakfast. By setting out a specific time to read, you’re making reading a priority in your life!

It’s also important to note that you don’t have to read every day. There are times when I am too exhausted or busy to pick up a novel, and that is perfectly normal. Not everyone has the time to read every day. It’s okay if you miss a day from your reading schedule; that doesn’t make you any less of a reader. Try to set out a specific time to read every day, but remember that it’s okay if you miss a day or two from your schedule.

Unwind and read During the weekend

Weekends are my favorite time to read because I don’t have any classes to attend and can spend my morning, in bed, reading a novel on my Kindle.

If you still have obligations during the weekend, try setting an hour or a half to read. By deliberately setting out a time to read and adding it to your daily to-do list, you’re making it a small task which will help push yourself to read more.

Never leave the house without a book

I never travel without a book downloaded on my phone or a novel in my purse. I’ll never know if I’ll find the time to read on the go. I especially bring it to all my classes. If you tend to get to class half an hour early like I do, I spend that time reading in the hallway, in a lounge, or in the classroom I’m waiting in rather than spending my time scrolling through social media.

Another way to read more often is to read in between classes. Whether it’s an hour break, in between classes, or fifteen minutes, one can always squeeze in some reading time.

I’d also recommend downloading a digital reading app on your phone (like Kindle, Nook, Libby, Overdrive, etc.) to read on the go if you don’t want to lug around a novel in your bag all day. Instead of opening Twitter or Instagram, open up your reading app and get a few pages read, here and there; they’ll add up eventually!

stop procrastinating and read!

Procrastination eats up precious time and is a bad habit for any student to have. For me, I’d like to call myself the opposite of a procrastinator. The moment I get an assignment I try to finish it as quickly as possible that way I have free time to read rather than worrying about a project, essay, or article that’s due. Instead of pushing off a task until you’re rushing to complete it the day before it’s due, try to complete it quickly, so you won’t have to worry about that specific class and can spend your time reading instead.

Breaking out of a procrastination habit is difficult. But completing tasks early can help open up hours, if not days, of free time, especially during college where assignments are given weeks in advance. There’s also an immense satisfaction in finishing assignments days or weeks early; while students are scrambling to write essays or create projects, you can spend afternoons or nights reading, knowing you’ve already finished something that others are still stressing about.

don’t worry about how many books you read

Being a student can eat up a lot of your time, especially if you juggle extracurricular activities, a part-time job, and other obligations. During college, people’s usual reading habits may be pushed off to the side or even forgotten about completely.

I used to read 100 novels a year, during high school, but now I only read half that amount. College consumes free time, and that is perfectly okay. Embracing the fact that you won’t be able to read as often as you used to will help lift a weight off your shoulders.

Hopefully, these tips will help push yourself to read more often, during the semester, but don’t worry if you aren’t reading as often as you once did. Our situations change over time, and as long as we adapt to them, we can always find a small amount of time to read throughout the day.