A few summers ago, I had one of the most mind-numbing jobs imaginable.
In comparison to my high school job at a lively ice cream shop or my work as a Phoenix editor — which both are like herding sheep — this job was nothing less than insufferable. I didn’t even do anything most of the time.
So, when I was working my hardest to find anything to do but watch the clock, I unintentionally slipped back into a habit that had faded since I started my busy college life.
I began reading — a lot.
I read TIME magazine’s articles about the most influential people of the year. I read opinion pieces in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times about everything from addiction to travel to dogs.
I read transcripts of court testimonies from former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar’s trial. I read lengthy New Yorker articles and personal essays. I read social commentaries and satire pieces.
I’d been a big reader since I was a child. I began the Harry Potter series when I was in kindergarten, although I think it was mostly to show my siblings that I, too, could be included in that cultural phenomenon.
But somewhere along the line, I fell off the reading train. I suspect this happens to many people — it became more of an obligation or chore than a piece of my day I actually enjoyed. I read things for school and work, and I did my best to keep up with the most important news of the day through reading.
I still think I read more than most people my age did. But when I got past the obligatory reads, I was able to dive into the things I was genuinely interested in. I learned a ton, and my conversations grew richer as a result.
I’m sad to say I’ve fallen victim to the “I don’t have time to read” excuse time and time again. But that summer — when I was forced to slow down because my days were just. that. slow. — I found a way to fill my time that had gone forgotten.
In a way I guess I’m thankful for that job, even though it made my mind feel like mush.
Now I try to read as much as I can. Even if I don’t get to read full books as much as I used to, I take time on my commute or before bed to dive into an interesting longform feature or hard-hitting investigation. One day I’ll have one job, not three, and I’ll be able to get through the stack of books that are collecting dust on my shelf. But until then, I’ll just have to do what I can.
In the News section this week, Phoenix reporters investigated a case of alleged sexual assault where the accused man was expelled and banned from campus. A few weeks later, he walked at graduation.
In Sports, women’s basketball looks to improve after a rough patch during the start to conference play. A&E has all your Valentine’s Day needs, from a list of restaurant recommendations to the best rom-coms to watch during the season.
In Opinion, The Phoenix Editorial Board urges Loyola to consider cancelling the use of standardized tests in its admissions process.