By Makenna Hill
Imagine that it is the middle of the semester, and you are swamped with homework, and your professors want you to finish reading five-hundred pages of text before your classes next week.
That is probably not hard to imagine for a college student.
So, why I am trying to convince you to read in addition to your classwork?
Well, reading has many benefits including increased vocabulary, increased empathy, aided sleep and improved mental health.
An increased vocabulary is beneficial to you because it will help improve your communication skills in writing and speech.
Your comprehension will also improve because you will be able to understand more complex words in the material you are reading.
Jrelibrary.com said that “consistent exposure to new words, learning their meanings and seeing the context in which they’re used will increase your mental dictionary. You will have more words available to use and more ways to use them in conversation and in writing.”
Also, Healthline.com said that “vocabulary size can influence many areas of your life, from scores on standardized tests to college admissions and job opportunities.”
Both sources conclude that reading is beneficial in improving your vocabulary which can be in turn helpful to your success in other areas of your life.
Another interesting fact about improved literacy is that “per capita incomes are higher in countries where more adults reach the highest levels of literacy proficiency and fewer adults are at the lowest levels of literacy,” according to Readingagency.org.uk.
Reading can also improve the social skill of empathy. Also, increased empathy can help strengthen your relationships with others.
Healthline.com said that “people who read literary fiction — stories that explore the inner lives of characters — show a heightened ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others.”
This can help you relate to others in a deeper way and help you understand what they are feeling in certain situations.
Reading can help your body relax— especially if you read in the evening. Reading can help improve your sleep, which in turn helps with one’s mental and physical health.
The University of Southern Florida said that “More than 80 percent of college students say loss of sleep negatively affects their academic performance. [Also] College students rank sleep problems as the No. 2 cause of difficulties with academic performance. Stress is No. 1.”
Health.harvard.edu said, “Exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms. Even dim light can interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm and melatonin [sleep hormone] secretion.”
When reading from a physical book, you are not exposed to as much blue light as you would if using cellphones, televisions, and computers.
Lastly, reading can improve your mental health.
Readingagency.org.uk said, “non-readers are 28% more likely to report feelings of depression, and about 1.3 million people in the UK say they rarely read because of depression.” This is useful information to encourage reading because Chardon State College said that “more than 11 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the past year and more than 10 percent reported being diagnosed or treated for depression.”
Mental health issues are on the rise, especially for college students. Most college students must balance school, work, extracurricular activities, and sometimes have children or others they care for on a daily basis. So, it is essential to have hobbies or activities that you can do to reduce stress (reading would be great because of the diverse advantages).
Overall, reading as a college student has both surprising and not-so-surprising positive consequences. Consider these benefits the next time you are reading, even if it is for a class.
Lastly, some of the benefits like sleep and mental health improvement can help contribute to your well-being.
So, make sure to take some time to check out a few book lists, find something that interests you and go read!