College students are busy people, and between class, studying and other obligations, they want to spend their down time doing anything besides school work. Everyone loves catching up on sleep, television and just lounging around, but sometimes these end up being a waste of time. Rather than vegging out on the couch, why not read something?

For college students today, reading for pleasure doesn’t seem to be a thought or even a second thought. Most students don’t like to read anything past their required textbooks, and it’s a huge waste of available knowledge.

Reading literature outside your classroom should be something everyone wants and enjoys doing. A book has the power to teach, influence and change the world, and yet so many people claim reading is too boring and a waste of time.

Reading has never been and never will be a waste of time because it’s incredibly beneficial. It helps improve writing, creativity, vocabulary and memory. Reading opens eyes, and it’s an easy way to become an intelligent and well-rounded person.

There’s something for everyone to read, whether it’s a Shakespeare play, Stephen King novel or Vogue fashion blog. You could stumble upon a used book at a yard sale and suddenly fall in love with an author or genre.

Reading is something I try to do every day, whether it’s a magazine, romance novel or just something cool I found online. I’ve always been a lover of books. My room is like my own personal library, and I find it one of the most relaxing things to do. After a long day, lying on my bed with a book and a CD playing in the background is more therapeutic than mind-numbing television.

When I was younger, I was obsessed with summer romance novels. I even swore I would write one when I grew up. As I got older though, I wanted to read books that could actually change my life. The first book I read that had an impact on my thinking was “Forever” by Judy Blume. My aunt recommended it to me when I was in high school, and it changed my perspective on books.

It was still a romance novel but contained a deeper story than a pretty blonde meeting a sexy guy at a summer luau. It was a book for adults, and I felt smarter and more mature after every page. I wanted to be older and do adult things. In some way, “Forever” jump-started my adulthood.

I was done with silly books because I felt I could do better and push myself to read books that were past my years. “Forever” gave me the push I needed to mature and realize my capabilities.

You never know when a book or magazine article will change your whole perspective on life. Doing something as easy as reading fiction books can increase your creativity and encourage imaginative and quizzical thinking.

Books are timeless, and their stories can still be relevant decades after they were written. Books by famous authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harper Lee, Jodi Picoult and thousands of others have been loved so deeply they are still being discussed and read today.

Books have a great influence on not only people’s thinking, but their actions. You read something in a book, then suddenly, something clicks. You realize or notice something you never had before, and that’s what’s amazing about books. They can change the way you perceive the entire world. Some books do a better job teaching you valuable lessons than teachers ever could.

It’s like entering a different world for a short period of time. You get to hear what someone is thinking and feeling. You can read about a guy trying to find love, an astronaut wandering through space or a man lost in the wilderness with nothing but a knife and some string. The possibilities are endless.

By reading, you can improve not just your literacy but your writing as well without much effort. If you challenge yourself to read books beyond the best-seller list you’d be surprised at how much knowledge you can retain.

Reading has had an amazing influence on my life and has the power to change anybody’s outlook. After a long day of school work, instead of sitting on the couch and watching an episode of a show you’ve seen a hundred times, do something good for your brain and read something that might change your world.

Email Laura Schmidt at laura.schmidt@cardinalpointsonline.com

<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/laura-schmidt/" rel="tag">Laura Schmidt</a>