Op-Ed: Reading for pleasure, rather than binge-watching Netflix, beneficial in long run

By Alex Pinsk || Assistant Opinion & Editorial Editor

We live in a society where binge-watching Netflix, worshiping cable, and connecting with others by bonding over TV are standard behaviors. College students are particularly guilty of mindlessly watching television to unwind after long days of classes and activities. It goes without saying that TV is a valid way to keep up with popular culture as well as a relaxing nighttime activity. However, while there is nothing overtly wrong with this lifestyle, there are, arguably, more valuable ways to spend one’s free time.

Many people, namely students who read articles, textbooks, novels, etc., for different courses, are sick of reading by the time they are finished their homework and ready for a relaxing activity. They get so used to reading academic literature and scholarly articles in classes that they begin to associate reading with work; they see reading as more of a chore than anything else.

So much can be learned from reading literature. It is easy to become engrossed in a novel’s characters and their lives, to absorb oneself in the imagery and reflection, to constantly be learning new things. In fact, “[t]hrough reading, you expose yourself to new things, new information, [and] new ways to solve a problem” according to Inspiration Boost. Reading can also boost awareness about different issues and theories that one may not have been familiar with previously. It can help a person to explore new and different writing styles, different historical timelines, and even new and creative plot-lines. Not only that, the more you read, the faster a reader you become. Fast reading is an important skill in almost any field of study because in almost every job, there are constantly elements of reading that can become tedious if a person cannot get through them fairly quickly. The more books you read, the more books you read for fun, the more it will certainly help you in the long run.

Additionally, while a TV and a laptop with wifi cannot travel always travel with you, a book can go with you everywhere. It does not require wifi, and it does not need to be charged. You do not need cable to read your favorite book; it is tangible and it is constant. Too, the screens of TVs, laptops, and phones put significant strain on your eyes. Studies have shown that watching TV right before going to bed is bad for your eyes and makes shutting off your brain to go to sleep very difficult. However, because a book does contain a screen, it is a great way to relax before going to bed.

While many of us are guilty of binge-watching Netflix before going to sleep, we have to remember that books to are engrossing, tell stories, and can capture our attention for long periods of time. Before TV everyone read and got the same enjoyment out of reading that our generation seems to get out of TV. Reading is more beneficial and has many positive long-term effects.

So, as summer approaches, run to the library, check out a few books to read for pleasure, and read for a half hour before bed each night. Find some novels that pique your interest and enjoy them. Mix some books in with your Netflix to keep yourself in the habit of reading. You may find that the reading you do now will benefit you later in life.

First-year Alex Pinsk is the Assistant Opinion & Editorial Editor. Her email is mpinsk@fandm.edu.

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