How Grad School Renewed My Love of Reading
Avid reader Jackie Kimmel learned to appreciate her beloved books even more after a year and a half in grad school left little time for personal reading. How do you balance life with personal pursuits–such as reading?
I have been devouring books for as long as I can remember. Books are my escape. My happy place. Nothing entertains me more than sitting in my chair, reading a book with my kitten nearby for comic relief.
For the last 16 months, I put a halt on my personal reading to go back to school. After a failed relationship, feeling unfilled in my job and needing a new project, I decided graduate school would be the perfect distraction. Little did I know that it would kill my desire to pleasure read for more than a year.
During my time studying project management, I was reading more than I do for fun; but it wasn’t the topics I would choose to read on my own. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy cozying up in a blanket to read about managerial accounting? On average, I was reading 100 – 300 pages of text each week so when it came time for me to relax and unwind, the last thing I wanted to do was read.
I often felt guilty about the growing stack of novels accumulating on my dresser. I would sigh (and often whine) to myself anytime I thought about reading, but just didn’t have the mental strength. At one point, my kitten started chewing on the book covers because she assumed their lack of use meant it was a play-thing for her.
Now, after graduating in June, I am proud to say that my love of reading has a new level of appreciation. Taking time to read books that were not in my wheelhouse allowed me to expand my horizons and appreciate academic readings. It also cemented my hatred of writing in third person. Jackie really loathes that.
Since graduation, I have read all the books I had saved for my post-graduation reading marathon. I read seventeen books total in six weeks because I couldn’t get enough of reading what I WANTED. I picked up some random finds from the gym including My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock. The book was a memoir inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s fearlessness and desire to learn by doing things that scare you. I also enjoyed Holly Madison’s Down the Rabbit Hole which gave away the saucy details of Huge Hefner, and dished on Holly’s years as his main squeeze while living at the Playboy Mansion.
I am thrilled to have six more books saved away for my upcoming East Coast vacation including: Carolyn T. Dingman’s Cancel the Wedding, Lauren Weisberger’s The Singles Game and Liane Moriarty’s Truly, Madly, Guilty. Additionally, I am back to scavenging book websites (like the great Shelf Pleasure) for new reads and checking up on my favorite authors on social media.
My personal reading life was saved by grad school as silly as that sounds. They say you don’t appreciate something until it is gone. You take for granted your book choices until you are assigned to read about instructional design theories and how they are applied to generational learning styles. For those thinking about going back to school, do it. Not only will you advance yourself career wise, but you will learn to cherish your personal time.
Jackie Kimmel is a writer who lives in Colorado. She is the former editor of several publications including: RV Trade Digest Magazine, The Morning Bridge, The Sky Report, Tusk Magazine and The Daily Titan Newspaper. She has loved reading since she was very young and prefers biographical, historical and chick-lit books. Follow Jackie on Twitter @Jackie_Kimmel.
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