As a child and throughout high school and college, I absolutely despised reading. Too often there were courses that had required reading, from fictional works for English courses to textbooks for specific classes to technical readings online, in magazines and countless other sources. Much of my dislike for reading was attributed to me not being a great student. While I managed to make average-to-good grades, if a specific course didn’t come easy to me, my grades would reflect this fact. To say I didn’t put in the hard work required to achieve good grades is quite the understatement. Reflecting on this, my dislike for reading was without a doubt the primary factor.
Now, some eleven years removed from my college days, I have found an affection for reading. The fact that I’m not required to read plays a big part in this. It’s as if my core mentality is one that if I have to do something, I don’t want to do whatever that something is. As an example, in school I absolutely despised History courses. I recall asking my mother once in high school why I had to take History courses. Her reply, one I will never forget, was “to learn how to learn”. For me, History courses were nothing more than courses in memorization. With this attitude, and with my dislike for reading, I often struggled in these courses. Ironically, now that I am not required to study it, I have found an affection for all sorts of history.
Today, at any given time, I am typically reading at least three different books. If I get bored with one, I simply put it down and grab another. Simultaneously reading books of different genres or subjects seems to keep my attention alive. I have also learned over the last several months that in order to write (whether it be technical articles for The Clarion, ramblings such as this for my website or my currently ill-fated novel), reading is a must. This is by no means to imply that my writings are nothing more than plagiarisms. Writing requires an active mind. The one absolute way I have found to both kickstart my brain and to keep it active is to read. Learning new things through reading enables me to generate new ideas, teaches me new styles of writing and challenges me to constantly improve my writings each and every time. I used to chuckle when seeing someone’s Facebook or MySpace profile and they had Reading listed as a hobby or interest. With head hung low, I must now confess that Reading is now one of my most favorite pastimes as well.