Reading For Fun In College

I’ve always loved reading. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it began, but I do have photo and video evidence that I’ve loved reading even before I could read on my own. That is, I’ve always loved stories – from the time that I had to rely on my parents to read to me, or when I had to count on the illustrations on the page to inform me of the plot of the story.


However, being a rising Junior in college and purportedly, an adult (which still feels like an odd term, even two-odd years into technical “adulthood”), I have real life tasks to attend to and therefore do not have as much time for free reading as I used to back before college. I’m a history major/ linguistics minor – to clarify, I do have lots of reading to do, for classes, but time for free reading seems to be a rarity.


But because I’ve always had a deep, unparalleled love of reading, I work to make time to pick up a book and read – even if it’s just a few pages before I head to bed after a long day of essay writing and translating for different classes. Do I always get a chance to read for fun or pleasure every day? As much as I’d love to say “yes, of course!”, the truth is that I don’t. But I do seem to figure out ways to carve out time to relax with a “for fun” book at least some of the time, even if that book does happen to be about the history of the Borgia family in Italy or a deconstruction of how children learn and acquire language.


I find that there are a few important steps that help one have (or at least attempt to have) the time for reading for fun, even amidst the busyness that is college/university.


  1. Set aside time for pleasure reading – because, truth is that despite how much you may want to read, finding the time to due so can seem nonexistent when other things pile up. Make a note in a planner or decide on ideal times of the day – or even just remind yourself that you can (and should) pick up a book if you happen to find yourself with a few moments to spare.
  2. Find books you want to read – not what you think you should be reading. Some of my “guilty” pleasures include the Pretty Little Liars book series, rereading Alice in Wonderland for the umpteenth time, and others. If you want to reread Harry Potter for the fifteenth time, do so. If you want to try a new book, go for that. Don’t feel ashamed for or about what you read, because all that’ll do is heighten the chance that you might push off reading.
  3. Double Reminder! Reading for fun doesn’t mean that you have to pick up the newest New York Times Fiction Bestseller, which I think is another important point to make. Whatever you enjoy can be “for fun” reading material.
  4. Take a book to the gym; take one with you when you go to the campus center to grab tea, coffee, or a smoothie. Carry a book with you whenever you can, ready to take it out whenever a chance to read presents itself. (And if Kindles/eReaders are your thing, take those. I promise not to judge).
  5. Furthermore, and perhaps one of the most important bits of advice is only read for pleasure if it is actually pleasurable to you! If you make it feel like work, you can very well end up putting it off or finding yourself unable to feel satisfied and/or relaxed by your “fun reading”. Relax, let yourself enjoy it, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to read the same number of books that you might read when you are not burdened with tasks that adult/school life may give you. 


Finding time to read for pleasure in college can be difficult, and even seem almost impossible at times, but it can happen if you want it to. Like with most things in adult life, you just might have to schedule it, if you are fearful of filling up your time with too many other things that don’t include pleasure reading. It is feasible to still read for fun, even as an adult in college with actual grown up responsibilities. It might just happen to take a little more effort than it would have back in high school or during summer months. Real life might interfere more often, but that is okay. Don’t worry if you don’t have time for reading right now, you’ll find time soon.


I wish you great luck in your further reading endeavors.



Emily Reiss was a Programming Intern at Grub Street this summer. She is a rising Junior at Smith College where she studies European Renaissance History, and Linguistics. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can be found watching television shows on Netflix, drinking Earl Grey tea, and getting lost in parts of nature (sometimes with a camera).


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About the Author

Margaret is currently a Barista at Fabulist Cafe and is actively pursuing a degree in English at Northeastern University. Margaret has always lived in the Boston area and is happy to be a team member at GrubStreet's Seaport location. On any day that she is not at GrubStreet, they can be found reading books from all genres from satire to horror, watching movies, and combating writer's block with bizarre stream of consciousness writing exercises.  

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