Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Read: You won’t regret it

(Collegian File Photo)

For my first year of college, I brought about ten books that were not textbooks. My purpose was to get myself to do some pleasure reading while I was away at school. Sadly, as I packed up my dorm room at the end of freshman year, I packed away all ten books, which had never been opened. After freshman year, I felt defeated. I felt that I was not going to be able to read for pleasure as long as I was taking college classes. But that’s not the case. Reading outside of coursework actually might be more beneficial than not reading at all.

A study in 2009 showed that reading for at least six minutes could reduce stress levels by more than 60 percent. Reading gives you a way to do something beneficial, while still maintaining your studies. You do not have to read hundreds of pages in order to reap the benefits of reading. If you read a book, you may even gain some knowledge that could relate to your coursework. I am currently reading a book about American foreign policy, and I have begun to approach this topic more critically and skeptically. It has given me background in the topic as well as changed some of my opinions on it. I have never been a fan of poetry, but now I find that poetry calms me more than most readings. Trying different genres and styles for different uses could be effective.

Reading can also help you learn things about yourself. From finding characters that you relate to, to teaching you a lesson about life, books can help you improve your life. Even if the book is a romantic novel or a teen fiction novel, you can learn lessons that you wouldn’t learn in the classroom. Reading makes you feel connected to the story and feel the emotions of the story. I have found that reading makes me more in touch with my emotions, as I find myself throwing books at the wall while crying.

And as we all know, reading makes you smarter. You can expand your vocabulary and knowledge base on a variety of topics. It can help you become a better writer by exposing you to different writing styles and vocabulary. Reading keeps one’s mind exercised and challenged, even if it is just for fun. It may improve concentration, as one can become used to paying attention to a book for longer periods of time, which can translate to reading for class. This improved concentration leads to more blood flow and more use of brainpower.

With the rise of social media and digital media, children aren’t reading as often. As I mentioned above, reading is crucial to brain development and to improving oneself. Personally, I feel that reading makes people more creative and more imaginative. Social media does not stimulate one to imagine things. Reading a book prompts one to imagine worlds, characters, and topics. Even if it is a biography, one can see the person and the places they go and the experiences they have.

So next time you’re bored and want to reach for your phone, reach for a book instead. It doesn’t matter the topic and it doesn’t matter for how long. Keeping yourself creative, keeping your brain exercised, and keeping your stress down are all benefits of reading. Reading can translate to the readings and assignments you want a break from as well as it can help you grow as a person and as an intellectual. No matter how busy and stressed you are, reading can help you. In a time where people would rather look at a screen or a video game, it’s time more people started picking up books. Be the kid with their face in a book instead of the kid with their face in a phone.

Emilia Beuger is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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    David Hunt 1990Sep 26, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Reading for prolonged periods, especially things that are complicated, is getting more difficult in today’s video-clip / twitter world. People, through their SM habits, are losing the ability to focus.