Technology has changed the popular concept of recreation, especially for students. Today, most students’ idea of unwinding after a long day is spending an hour on Facebook or playing a video game.
However, as tempting as it is to veg in front of a screen after class, it doesn’t compare to the traditional hobby of reading.
As unappealing as the thought of picking up a book may sound – especially after a week of midterms – reading can be just as relaxing as popular alternatives.
Many times, students get the wrong idea about reading. It can be perceived as a type of chore when, in fact, it can be just the opposite.
Picking up a book of one’s choice and immersing oneself in it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Reading for fun offers students the relaxation of exploring a fictional world, while allowing them to become intellectually engaged in the process. This level of stimulation cannot be found in film or any social network page.
English professor Nancy Sweet said reading provides a uniquely personal experience unlike anything technology can offer.
“With technology we expect to be fed our stories and our images and what is lost is the singular pleasure that comes when you are steeped in an imaginary world of your own creation,” Sweet said.
Sweet said she understands the hectic schedule of college students does not always allow them to read for fun, but she encourages it nonetheless.
“I am just happy when they read the assigned reading,” Sweet said. “It is not easy to make time to read, but I definitely encourage students to do so.”
With the rigid curriculum of most courses, students can lose the ability to exercise their imagination. This quality may seem unnecessary, but it adds a different dimension to one’s relaxation.
Senior computer engineering major Anthony Zepeda said the texts in engineering leave little room for imagination.
“Reading gives you something beyond what other forms of communication can give,”
Zepeda said. “It’s relaxing (and) allows the use of imagination and as a student there is not as much room for it as there should be.”
Zepeda said he enjoys reading classics, especially the works of George Orwell. He said reading fiction is an excellent method of unwinding and encourages others to do the same.
Another excellent element of reading is it can result in developing interest in topics which are unfamiliar. This exposes readers to new ideas and subjects like music, history and art. Such exposure ultimately enriches the reader’s mind.
Freshman business major Vanessa Martinez said reading has expanded her knowledge of concepts she knew little about.
“When I read something for fun and a topic comes up, I’ll research it for fun,” Martinez said. “(Recently I read) ‘The Good Earth’ and it’s more like Asian culture, so I researched Asian culture and agriculture.”
Reading is a hobby with a lot to offer and has been overlooked for too long. There is an almost negative connotation to the word in college. Perhaps this is because most students associate it with textbooks and the drudgery of “required reading.”
However, reading does not have to be painful. It is an inexpensive, beneficial way of spending leisurely time. Although it may be contrary to every instinct, students would be well advised to trade their Facebook pages for those of an actual book and give old fashioned reading a chance.