Reading. That important yet easily shove-off-able activity.
Why is it that reading is always the first thing to go when you’re feeling “super busy”?
Have you ever stopped to realize just how important reading is?
I like to refer to reading as a multi-learning experience. Here’s what I mean…
The many ways to learn from reading
It’s not just about learning from whatever it is you’re reading (the actual ideas being presented or explained through the text).
It’s also about expanding your vocabulary, becoming a better reader, learning different writing styles, and last but not least, broadening your ability to interpret a text in multiple ways.
When I was a freshman in college at the University of San Francisco, I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I knew I didn’t really care for math, but for whatever reason I managed to score higher on my math tests. Go figure.
And then, my sophomore year rolled around, and I started to get a little bit of pressure from my guidance counselor about choosing a major.
Choosing a major
I was just wrapping up my general ed courses, and unless I wanted to take them over again (or stay in college for like 6 years) it was time to make a decision.
I got really stressed out about this decision; it would determine my career path! (Oh, poor 19-year-old me…) But that’s really how I saw it: choose a major, graduate, put it on your resume, and that’s how you would get a job.
I didn’t want to choose math as my major just because I scored high on the tests or else I’d be stuck in some super crazy accounting position or something.
The morning after I had that talk with my guidance counselor about having to hurry up and choose a major, I was walking to my first class of the day up on Lone Mountain. When I arrived, Dr. Michaelson, a Dominican Father and English Lit guru, sat happily at the front of the class ready to begin.
His lesson that day was about how literary texts are interpreted in multiple ways, and how that’s what makes literature different from any math equation or scientific formula. Literature is constantly changing. How you interpret a text is not only a reflection of the time in which it was written, but also a reflection of the time you’re living in, your current situation and your feelings towards the content.
That afternoon, I declared my major: English Lit.
Two years later, as a senior in college, I sat down with another one of my professors Dr. Thurber at the University of San Diego.
We discussed The Picture of Dorian Gray, and I told him about my experience reading it a second time: how much my interpretation of it had changed even though it was obviously the exact same text.
Determining what the story means
He told me that’s the beauty of literature, and I’ll paraphrase: as authors, we get to script our own story every time we write; as readers, we get to determine what that story means to us.
One year later, I was accepted into the Graduate program at Cal State University, Long Beach and graduated with a Masters in English Lit. I couldn’t get over the power I felt through literature: both when writing it and reading it.
It was whatever I wanted it to be – no set equations or formulas to follow.
Reading has shaped my passion for learning new things; it has helped me expand my vocabulary, become a better reader, critique different writing styles, and last but not least, has gifted me the ability to interpret the same text in multiple ways during different times in my life.
As of late, I’ve focused my passion for reading on blogs and business books, which have enhanced my knowledge of the entrepreneurial industry, taught me things about the type of writing style I enjoy and that have opened my eyes to a whole new world of forward-leaning technologies.
Thanks to our amazing guests on EOFire, I’ve been handed some amazing business book recommendations.
I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have :)