Editorial Notebook

How reading became my favorite hobby and saved my grades

In the age of the internet, most college students would likely say their free time is taken up by scrolling through social media or streaming TV shows. While I understand the appeal of limitless content at the tips of your fingers, I believe that you’ve never really been immersed in a story until you’ve read one.

Now, most people immediately dismiss the idea. Why read “boring” books when you could throw on the latest Netflix series and text your friends at the same time? A lot of us need to have constant stimulation in the form of each new TikTok in order to stay focused. I found that reading really helped me increase my attention span. When you read, you can’t multitask without missing the story, so you must be fully focused on what you’re reading. Spending my free time completely focused on only reading made it easier to replicate that focus in the rest of my life. Suddenly I was able to study with less energy and much faster. Once I got focused, I stopped wanting to pick up my phone all the time. This newfound ability allowed me to do my school work better throughout high school and into college.

More importantly, reading is fun. Since people have been writing stories for centuries, there is something for everyone. Not only are there books in every genre imaginable, each genre contains novellas, lengthy series, standalones, and everything in between. Once you realize that not every book is like the ones you were forced to read in high school, a whole new world of entertainment is opened up to you. My favorite to read are mystery novels, especially those by Agatha Christie and Holly Jackson, but you can choose from action, romance, fantasy, historical fiction, and so many more.

Now that I’ve found my niche, after each long day of class or studying, I can wind down with a story I’m invested in, escaping into a world of my choosing. Of course I still use social media to talk to my friends or stay updated on trends, but by making the switch to reading most of the time, I’ve become much happier. I know it can be hard to get over the initial difficulty of extending your attention span, but by becoming invested in longer stories over the course of days or weeks, rather than 30-second online skits, I greatly improved the quality of both my free time and my schoolwork.