Monday, 15 February 2016

GUEST POST -- Sometimes, it's Okay Not to Read by Susy

Since going to university, I have found myself reading a hell of a lot more. Whereas before I'd read between three and four books a month, at uni I found I was reading twice that, despite the fact that I had a million other things I should have been doing - coursework, course reading, cooking, hoovering, laundry, being social etc. For those of us who live in halls, uni is about more than just staying out late and writing the odd essay; we have to fend for ourselves for the first time in our lives. So why, then, do I find myself reading more even though I theoretically have less time on my hands?

The most likely reason is that, at uni, I don't have a TV. At home, I spend a lot of time watching telly (hey I did media studies A Level ok, I like that kind of stuff), and so a lack of this at uni means that I naturally spend my leisure time differently. Even so, surely my time should be taken up with all the other aforementioned activities I need to do?

Even though I do history, I don't actually have that much work to do. Maybe it's because I'm in first year, maybe it's because I'm lazy. I don't know. But I thought I'd be spending much more of my time actually doing work (it helps that I'm safe in the knowledge that this year doesn't count towards my degree). I can read for, plan, and write an essay in a week. All whilst reading for pleasure. And, last semester, I only had a total of four essays to write - one of which wasn't even assessed. So you see, my course isn't terribly stressful.

There is, however, another factor causing my altered reading habits. Quite simply, I felt lonely. Living away from home can be hard, ok? Some people just slot into a new city with ease and don't feel any different, but for me it wasn't so easy. My flatmates naturally bonded with each other a lot faster than I did because I'm naturally introverted and a little awkward at times. They'd go out clubbing or have movie nights and I'd opt to stay in my room and read. Even when I was in the kitchen, they got used to the sight of seeing me reading a book whilst stirring my pasta.

Reading was my crutch, my safety blanket. It transported me to other worlds, other scenarios, other people's problems, and meant that I didn't have to face my own. It wasn't until the last few weeks of the semester that I realised that using reading as an excuse wasn't ok. I've since resolved to say yes to more things with my flatmates so that I can get closer to them. I want to be involved and have experiences and get out of the room that had turned into a cocoon. Reading is my passion but I refuse to let myself become so dependent on it.

So what if I only read five books a month instead of eight? If that means I'll grow in confidence and improve relationships with my new friends, it'll be for the better.

Reading is great. But the real world can be great too. It's just about finding the right balance.

Susy is a History Student at University - she also has a BookTube channel called IlolAtMyself - go watch her videos!!!

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