Why high school classes made me hate reading

That’s just messed up

Who would’ve thought I would crack open a book that wasn’t mandatory for one of my classes?

Sure as hell not me.

It’s sad because I used to love reading back in elementary school. In fact, I vividly remember practicing reading the whole Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene out loud to my dad every night.

But once I reached middle school and high school, reading suddenly went from being a hobby to an unwanted obligation. It unfortunately became a dreaded requirement to do well on reading quizzes and essays about symbolic messages mysteriously left by dead writers.

Why was the curtain blue? Why was the scarlet letter red? I was suddenly dissecting every little thing about a book instead of looking at the big picture and truly enjoying it. To say the least, school turned me off to reading.

The feeling I used to get when I had to read a book…

It’s ironic that my parents used to tell me that in order to become a good writer, I had to read more. I guess that might be true, but I never took their advice, as I was never inspired to pick up a book outside of school assignments.

However, I was still able to land a spot at one of the top communications schools in the country, The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, even though much communication takes place through reading and writing.

Why should teens be reading about a guy who kills his father and marries his mother? That’s just messed up.

Any of these books ring a bell?

Truthfully, the only other book I read for pleasure throughout high school was called Forgotten by Cat Patrick, and I haven’t even gotten half way through the book yet. How pathetic, I know.

Four years later, you would expect the book to be finished by now. But nope, I have yet to finish it. The only time I actually opened that book was when I had absolutely nothing else to do. I gave myself a handful of great excuses not to read, which included but were not limited to having other books to read for school, hanging out with friends, homework, scrolling through Facebook to find useless, trivial articles, Instagram stalking people I’d never meet, watching Netflix or taking naps. 

When I wasn’t doing any of those things, which was pretty rare, I cracked open the book. But, I found myself skimming several paragraphs just to find answers to the questions formed in my mind, kind of like what my school years had trained me to do. In fact, I will probably just SparkNote the rest of this book just to figure out how it ends.  My experience was clearly not rooted in reading for the mere pleasure of it and that realization was a bummer.

Which would you choose: Netflix & Chill or Reading & Chill?

Would you rather Netflix & Chill or Read & Chill?

Now I find myself on winter break after my first semester at college suffering from insomnia. My mom insisted that reading a book before I go to bed would help, so we headed over to Barnes and Noble. After meandering through the long aisles filled with shelves jam packed with hundreds of books, I finally found a book I thought would interest me, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

It took me a few days before I actually cracked open the book, but I finally mustered up the strength to slide the book off of my desk and open it. When I started reading, I found myself stopping after every few paragraphs and thinking to myself: wow this book is really well written. I turned my head to the right and laid my eyes on the clock – it read 3am. By 3:48 I was writing the first draft of this article.

My wide eyes and raised eyebrows represent how surprised I am that I actually like this book.

Although unfortunately reading this book did not help me with my insomnia, I felt inspired.

Nonetheless, I am pleasantly surprised about how excited I am to continue reading, and I am glad it changed my preconceived notion from reading is a bothersome task only meant for school to reading is like watching a movie, but you get to know more than what is shown.

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Syracuse University