I like books.
I always have a stack of books a mile high that I want to read. Whenever possible, I like to go on outings to the bookstore to check out some books about the subjects I’m interested in. On the weekends, I love to curl up with a book of my choosing, and read until I can’t read any more. But then there are textbooks, which fall into the category of books that I have to read. Depending on what classes I’m taking during the term, sometimes I don’t have very many textbooks, but more often than not, at the beginning of each term, a new stack of books starts piling up. And then I have two stacks of books; one with books I want to read, and one with books that I have to read (textbooks).
When I sit down to read on the weekends, I have a conflict over which stack of books to start reading. Because reading textbooks on the weekend qualifies as “working ahead,” this conflict is exaggerated, especially at the beginning of the term when I’m already working ahead in other areas of my classes. On weekdays at the beginning of the term, I accept that I don’t have much free time. However, the weekend is still a gray area. I can spend my weekends getting ahead by reading textbooks, or I can work on reading my stack of books that I want to read, and take a little bit of time to myself to prepare for the next week.
But what should I be reading on the weekends?
I don’t think that there’s necessarily a right answer. I feel conflicted no matter what decision I make on the weekends in terms of which books I read. If I read my textbooks, I feel like I’m doing the right thing, but I still want to be reading something different. But when I read what I want to read on the weekends, and I haven’t finished my textbook reading, then I think that I really should be reading my textbooks.
Even if I decide to read my textbooks, though, and I feel that I’m doing the right thing, I still have a problem. Because I’m constantly thinking about what I want to be reading while I’m reading my textbooks, I’m unable to absorb the information on the pages. The whole point of college and reading textbooks for college is to learn. And in order to get a degree and take other classes that I know I’ll be really interested in, I sometimes have to take classes I don’t necessarily want to take and read textbooks that I don’t necessarily want to read. However, just because I don’t want to read certain textbooks doesn’t mean I can’t make the information interesting for myself.
Even if the point of college is to learn, there are still pre-requisite classes that I might not want to take, and core courses I thought I’d enjoy that aren’t up to par with my expectations. But classes that don’t live up to my expectations can be interesting too. In college, I’m meant to learn, and even if I don’t find a class interesting, I can still learn the material. It might become interesting to me later, or turn out to be closely related to something else that I find really interesting. I never know how the material that I’m learning will come in handy.
As much as I like recreational reading, there’s something to be said for textbooks, even though sometimes the idea that I have to read textbooks can get in the way of enjoying them. If for some reason I don’t want to read a certain textbook, and I want to read something else, I make an effort to find something interesting about the textbook’s subject. In college, I have a chance to explore different topics I wouldn’t have otherwise explored. And who knows, in the end I might discover that I really enjoy a subject that I never thought I would find interesting.
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