Abby: How to live your life and still read 400+ pages by Monday

In light of recent events (aka, I was assigned over 400 pages over one weekend and still wanted to live my life), I decided to construct a “how to” that I hope you will never have to use but will prove helpful if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

Read while doing laundry– From start to finish, doing a load of laundry usually takes about an hour.  I use to put my laundry in the washer, go back up to my room (and wait at least 5 minutes for the elevator), then have to head right back down in less then 20 minutes (another 5 minutes in the elevator.)  This is a lot of wasted time, my friends!  So I had a stroke of genius and decided to bring my reading down to the laundry room with me.  An hour later, I had plowed through two whole chapters and even did reading check questions.

Read while eating– Another place that I sometimes feel takes up an unnecessary amount of time is taking a trip to the dining hall.  While eating with friends and socializing is fun and a necessity of college, it is not always practical.  If I go to the dining hall with a group of friends, I expect to spend at least an hour to an hour and a half there.  With a lot of reading on your plate this is not the best idea.  Instead, bring your work with you and multitask.  In the beginning of the school year I thought it was nerdy or lame to share a meal with your laptop, but this is college! And if you look around you will notice that more people then you think bring their work with them to eat.  A couple dinning halls on campus even have quiet rooms or study areas that are specifically designed for this purpose.

Some foods to avoid while also trying to read- soup and cereals (too many drips) and sandwiches or anything involving both hands (you will lose your place when your book flops shut.)

Read on the T/BU Shuttle/Other Public Transit– At first, reading while on the go seemed impossible to me- I mean who wants to lug around huge texts when all you have to read is a couple pages?  With the popularity of e-readers, this option is more do-able.  If, like me, you don’t have an e-reader(I personally prefer real books to e-readers, but that is an entirely different blog post), you can take a picture with your phone of the passage you need to read.  I will also add that this requires some precautions.  Be smart about using your phone in public- you don’t want to get it stolen! And reading too much on a tiny screen may cause your eye to twitch… Even with all that in mind, it gets the job done.  If the passage is available online, another option is to print out the pages you need to go over and take it with you.

*This method works best if you have a short passage or excerpt from a text to read.

Read at FitRec– Okay so you’ve caught me- I don’t go to the gym as often as I should. But every time I do go, I see at least one person reading while on a treadmill or elliptical.  (Don’t they only do that in romanticized movies about college??) Personally, I am not coordinated enough to read, understand what I am reading and, oh yeah, run all at the same time.  But if you are gifted with this talent, go for it!

How to not fall asleep while reading (not that that has EVER happened to me…)–  So far I have found that the best way to avoid getting sleepy while reading is to change up where you read.  Read for 15 minutes sitting at your desk, then for 15 minutes on your bed (but not lying down), at your roommate’s desk, then sitting on the floor, in a chair that spins, while pacing the length of your room, at a booth in a coffee shop, on a couch in the study room… You get the idea.  One other thing I have found to help keep me alert is to take tiny breaks.  During these breaks don’t just sit there and think of how much more reading you have to do.  Get up and do some jumping jacks, take a shower, dance to some fun music, call your mom, re-organize a desk drawer, paint your fingernails, or microwave some popcorn.

* REMEMBER- Sometimes part of your education is the problem solving needed to get it all done and not just in the words you read. So don’t stress if you miss a couple of pages.

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