Now that I’ve come out on the other side of the stress filled horror of vet school, I’ve realised it that it’s a pretty decent achievement to keep up with my reading goals of 50 books a year.
Clearly this means I’m some sort of expert and completely qualified to enforce my tips on to you.
Without further adieu, I present:
How to sucessfully maintain your reading dreams in full time uni!
Uni was a pretty hard learning curve for me. Not only did I actually have to put effort into study for once (I was always that kid who would study the day before the exam in high school then get an A), but I had a lot less time than I was used to. Late high school did disrupt my reading a book a day patter, but I was still averaging 1-2 books a week. Uni started and I was lucky to read a every two weeks at first, then a book a month once I got to third year.
Despite this I was still meeting my yearly reading goals. And as much as I jest above, it is possible. It’s not as easy as I’d like, but it’s possible.
Decrease your reading goal
Don’t put yourself on the back foot before you even begin. Keep your reading goal low to avoid disappointment. If you have low expectations, then you can only be surprised! It will make you feel like less of a failure when Goodreads tries to tell you that you’re horrendously behind. It doesn’t have to be super low, just realistic. 50 books is less than one a week, and takes into consideration that I will be reading more on holidays, etc.
Utilise your holidays (and maybe weekends)
I wasn’t lucky enough to get much reading times on weekends (the study never ended!) but you bet I read as much as I could on my breaks! A whole week of nothing? Better read and catch up! Of course this is where the slumps happen but it’s still the best chance I ever got.
Read as a study break
This is a dangerous one, but it can be super motivating too. If it’s a good book you can use the next 1-3 chapters as a reward for getting stuff done, though it can be hard to stop (I highly recommend setting a timer). I somehow always read the most when I was studying for exam. It didn’t make sense at first but then I thought about it: reading for 10min every hour for 2-3 weeks? It adds up! Normally I’d only be reading once a night when lectures were on.
Also make sure your book does not sit in/ near your study area. Make it harder for yourself to pick it up when you’re supposed to be focusing.
Read to wind down
After a hard day of stress and work, it can be hard to get to sleep. Reading was the way I switched my brain off. I’d read for 20-30 minutes before bed every single night. It was dangerous and the temptation to push on was strong, but it being the end of the day meant I was usually too tired to read for too long.
Audiobooks are a time saver!
Once I finish my bedtime book, I often put on an audiobook to listen to as falling a sleep (on a timer so if I fall asleep I don’t have too far to get back). The option to speed up the narration also makes it easier to get through a tonne (though it can take some adjusting to). They’re also great for listening to walking around and when on public transport (less chances of missing your stop compared to physically reading!)
Those are my main tips. Different degrees have varying amounts of free time, and vet med is one of the busiest degrees out there! But reading in full time uni is difficult regardless.
What techniques do you utilise to meet your reading goals in your busy lives?