Discussions, Reflection

How 2 Years of Intense Studying Has Changed My Reading

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you will know that for the past 2 years I have been completely and utterly consumed by my A Levels, and my posting on here has been relatively scattered and fragmented. But prior to this (and before I had stopped reading YA), I had gotten into a really good flow of reading and blogging, especially in the summer of 2019. Now that my A Levels are over (there was a huge amount of disbelief at the surreality of the moment, followed by hysteria and screaming), I have begun reading again, and I have observed a noticeable difference in my reading now, compared to before I started my A Levels, when I would devour oh-so-many-books! I thought it would be interesting to discuss and compare in a post, and I would love to hear your thoughts on this too. I would also just like to disclaim that I am hoping that a majority of these changes are temporary, and are just a side effect of me getting used to reading again after such a long break!

The most obvious thing that I have noticed upon reading for pleasure again (…yes, I stopped reading for pleasure… I told you A Levels consumed me) is that I have a much shorter attention span now. I do expect that this is only natural considering the circumstances… I don’t think it is that I have a shorter attention span in general (because I have spent the past two years studying more than I have ever studied in my entire life, and with an intensity that has physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted me)… I think it may be because I’m just not used to sitting down and reading a book without knowing that I have to read this book for my A Levels, whether I like it or not. But now that I’m reading with choice again, I obviously have more freedom to put the book down whenever I feel like it, and so it has taken me much longer to read a whole book because I keep getting distracted. At one point I did get slightly annoyed with myself, because it shouldn’t really be as hard as it has been for me to finish a book – and it’s not like I don’t enjoy it either, I still love reading all the same – it’s just that it’s taking me a while to adjust to all the freedom and spare time I have now… I quite frankly don’t know what to do with myself (but we can discuss my life crisis in another post). But I am fervently hoping that this is only a short-term effect and I will continue to plough through the books I am reading (because I love reading and books with all my heart… if you couldn’t already tell by now).

This next point is intrinsically linked to the first, which is that I have been reading multiple books at once, and I never used to do this. I would always read one book at a time (or two at most) and focus on that one book until I have finished it and would then move onto the next one. But now, I am honestly all over the place. I keep starting books and then not finishing, or looking at other books when I’m still reading several… the bookworm inside of me is screaming. It is a bit frustrating, but I’m hoping that after a while this will wear off and I will be able to focus on one book. I think this may also be due to the fact that I have been experimenting with different genres and switching between fiction and non-fiction, so not all the books I’ve started have fit to my tastes either.

So far these have all been negative, but I do have a huge plus point as well – which I’m hoping will continue to last and will remain a long-term change to my reading, which is that I no longer have a tendency to skim read. I think this is due to several factors, but I think the main factor is because I am reading more serious books now and with that, after having done A Level English, I am now always reading slow enough to be able to fully comprehend what I am reading in order to allow myself to gain a better understanding of the themes of the book. I don’t think I can properly emphasise how important this is. I recently started reading “1984” by George Orwell, and I think we can all agree this is definitely the type of book that you read with deliberation, and by doing so, I have been able to appreciate it more fully. I am also reading “Turning the Tide” which is impossible to benefit from without reading slowly and pondering upon the content and message being delivered, through which I have already gained so much from, via my slow reading.

Lastly, I would like to end on something that I love about how my reading has changed, which I’m sure any of you lovely regular readers may be familiar with. I am so glad that throughout the years, I have been able to shift my reading to more meaningful books and less so of books simply for entertainment (this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing that, only that there has been a shift in focus, and I’ve written several posts talking about this). The reason I’m so glad about this, is because it signifies growth (the most important thing), and I’m so grateful to be able to have this blog to document and engage in discussions on this. As I continue to widen my reading, I look forward to sharing and discussing on this blog!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this – what do you think about how my reading has changed? How has your reading changed over the years?

Speak soon!

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