Reading Motivation for Busy College Students
Reading has always been one of my favorite hobbies—between me and my two siblings, our house was always full of books passing from one pair of hands to another. I read constantly from elementary through middle school but slowed down during high school when full days of class, extracurriculars, and sports severely limited my free time. The pandemic, however, gave me some respite and I was able to start inching my way back towards reading, and I now actively try to spend as much time as I can devouring books. It’s still hard at times to pick up a book and keep returning to it, but I’ve figured out a few tricks that work in my life as reading motivation for busy college students.
Here’s how I stay motivated to read when I’m busy
- Only read books that interest you
Sometimes I feel pressured to read any book I start, especially if it’s a book that has a lot of hype surrounding it. It’s hard to not feel like you’re doing something wrong or not putting your heart into it when a book doesn’t spark your attention. In my experience, there’s nothing worse than coercing yourself into reading a book you don’t want to.
Especially when I’m feeling stressed and busy, I try to focus on only reading books that immediately hook me because I know that I’ll be eager to get back to it until it’s finished. Sometimes that means moving on from a book after a paragraph or two, and that’s okay.
- Make it accessible
One of the easiest ways for me to get in reading time is to have my books accessible. I have library cards in both Des Moines and Austin, and I use their online collection of ebooks to read on my phone. That way whenever I have time to waste between classes or at night, I pull out my phone and read instead of clicking-through social media or watching Netflix (although I do both of those quite a bit).
- Kindle Hack
An easy way to keep up with your checked-out library ebooks even when you’re falling behind is this quick Kindle hack. If you have a secondary device that you can read on, like a Kindle or a tablet that you can afford to keep the wifi off on, check out and download the book(s) that you’re wanting to hold onto and then set it to airplane mode. That way when your library checkout expires, your book will still be available to read (at least until its connection to the internet is restored).
- Start a Reading Journal
I recently bought a Reading Journal from Kunitsa Co and I absolutely love it. It has reading habit trackers so you can keep track of your reading streaks, spreads for books you’ve read, books you didn’t finish, book reviews, favorite books, reading challenges, and just about everything else that a reader could want. The journal itself is well made, absolutely adorable, and the drive to add to the journal keeps me reading. There are plenty of reading journals available, or you can even make your own.
- Keeping a TBR
Apart from keeping my reads engaging, I find that it helps to have a list of books I’m excited to read ready to go. Whether it’s in a notes app, on paper, or completely unorganized, having a TBR (or To Be Read) makes me want to keep the habit up. I have one in my notes app that I loosely follow, and it’s definitely satisfying to watch it shrink the more I read.
I also get a lot of my book inspiration from BookTok. When I hear about a book that sounds interesting, I save the video so that I can find it later. These books tend to be more popular and so I end up waiting on the hold list for a few weeks before I can get it, which serves as a more immediate TBR.