Enjoyable Reading

For me, the key to enjoyable reading is relaxation and leisure. I naturally enjoy reading books, especially about subjects that I want to learn more about, and I read a lot during breaks from school. This kind of reading is intrinsically motivational for me. I imagine myself growing smarter and evolving into a better person when I read for pleasure (whether or not this is true is up for debate). The thing that I hate about assigned reading for school is a feeling of being rushed, and a feeling of trying to guess the message that the professor is trying to communicate to me through the reading. I think this is a byproduct of having an anxious personality. The negative emotions of fear, hurriedness, and anxiety that I get from academic assignments causes me to dislike and avoid them.

Recently, a friend told me a story about an experience dropping a computer programming class which I think parallels my stance on unenjoyable reading. Before dropping the class, she was working really hard to finish the first project before the deadline. As she was rushing, and struggling to debug her code, she said that her confidence plummeted and she felt like a “piece of garbage.” After dropping the class, she continued working on the assignment at her own pace. This time, each time she successfully made progress on her code, her confidence was boosted and she felt “like a genius.” To me, reading is the same way. When I feel like I have time to understand a nontrivial idea, reading generates happy emotions and becomes a positive feedback loop. However, when I am rushed and scrambling to finish an assignment, my ego shrinks and I dislike something that I might otherwise find interesting.

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