College consists of classes, homework and more, but BYU students have said reading for pleasure is not the first thing on their to-do list.
For BYU advertising student Faith Canipe, reading used to be a fun activity for her growing up, sometimes reading an average of eight hours a day. Since attending college, it has turned into more of a task than a fun activity. Canipe said she wants to be able to read for fun, but her busy schedule does not allow for such activities.
“I find it more difficult for me to sit down and slip into a good book because unintentionally, it turns into something stressful,” Canipe said. “But hopefully when I graduate I’ll have more time to sit and read books that I enjoy, just for fun.”
Time seems to be one of the biggest factors for college students who do not read for fun as much as they used to, studies say. Additionally, many students claim they have enough reading they must do for other classes that more reading, even if it is for their own enjoyment, is not what they would prefer to do. “As far as college students go, I think the main reason is lack of time,” Canipe said of why students choose not to read. “I know a lot of people are burnt out by the end of the day so more reading could feel like work rather than fun.”
This same study said 77.1% of students already have enough reading for class and 31.2% of students would rather use their time in other ways. BYU communications student Sydney Springer said she makes sure to build in time in her schedule to read everyday, even if it is right before going to bed. Reading for Springer has been a way for her to “view the world more holistically, with empathy and compassion in degrees unachievable in any other format.”
BYU nursing student Symbria Lewis said she uses reading as a way to recharge during the busyness of her life. “I’m a big bookworm,” she said. “At the beginning of the year I made a goal that I was going to read something that I wanted to read for 30 minutes a day.”
Another study says one’s attitude towards reading can be linked to reading habits developed through parent and teacher provision of reading material.
Springer said she thinks the decline in reading for fun within the college demographic is due to required reading in schools. “As someone who loathes required reading too, reading books chosen by a teacher with the sole purpose of deconstructing and analyzing — and when those books are typically hundreds of years old and don’t feature women or people of color in humane ways — leads to a decreasing appeal of books in general,” she said.
BYU third year law student Genny Hickman said she grew up hating reading books, but realized later in life that it was not reading she did not like, but the novels she was reading for her English class. She said once she was able to find books that she enjoyed reading, it became more of a rewarding experience.
For Hickman, she said reading books has been a way for her to escape reality. “While it seems counterintuitive to read in my free time after reading for school the entire day, it is a different kind of reading,” Hickman said.
Although reading for fun seems to be a time luxury that students cannot afford, many students like Hickman, Canipe, Lewis and Springer say they try to read when they are able to.