Strange as it may sound, you do not actually get that much free time at university. As soon as you get five minutes to sit down and open a book, something else pops up; it might be academic reading you forgot to do for tomorrow’s seminar, your society’s social, a friend wanting to go out. There always seems to be something else that is more important than reading for pleasure—this should not be the case.
As an English Literature student, the days of me being able to sit down for an hour or two and read a book that is not on a syllabus, background reading, useful for my dissertation, or in any way related to my degree are long gone. Despite this, I still try to find some time each day to read something purely for myself and my own enjoyment. I think it is so important to take some time out of your busy day to just sit and enjoy a good book; otherwise, your degree ends up taking over your life. Even if you are not studying an English degree, reading for pleasure is still important. It can help keep your mind relaxed, removing stress or worries. There is no better cure for stress than escaping for a while in the depths of your favourite book.
Although it may seem like you are wasting precious time that could be spent studying—or drinking—spending some time unwinding from a long day by reading can actually put you in a better mood to then go out and socialise. You don not have to choose between the two; there is enough hours in the day for you to work hard, relax, and socialise. If there’s not, then you’re either working too hard or not hard enough.
Many people who I have spoken to have said that they used to love reading when they were younger, but as they became busier they gave it up. Maybe I am showing my English bias here, but I don not get why anyone would give up reading as a hobby. It is the best way to take your mind off everything and is a great way to procrastinate whilst still feeling productive.
Of course, the books you read do not always have to be completely unrelated to your degree. Doing wider reading around books on your syllabus can still be productive, whilst feeling like you are not actually doing work. It is a great way to relax yet still impress everyone in your seminar with your extra knowledge.
At the end of the day, if you enjoyed reading for pleasure before you came to university, there is no reason why you cannot still enjoy it now that you are here. People would not expect you to give up doing sport or playing an instrument at university, so why would you want to give up reading as a hobby? It is something that can be done anywhere and everywhere; on the bus, in between lectures, or when you get home after a long day. The benefits of a little escapism every now and then cannot be stated enough. Happy reading!