Something I wanted to talk about today is the importance of reading for class. A lot of people say that if you want to get a decent grade in class, you don’t really have to read the material. I disagree. Going to a small liberal arts school has taught me that class participation drives the class, and if no one does the reading, class discussion sucks. No one wants to pay money to go to college, and then mindlessly sit through class because he or she didn’t read, and therefore can’t participate in discussion. When I was in high school, I was constantly stressed out, and because of all my extracurricular activities, I had the tendency to skim readings, not realizing the importance of fully reading the material.
When I got to college, I was so worried I was unprepared or that I would get a bad grade that I made a point to read every single reading on the syllabus for each class. At first I thought I was being a little ridiculous, but then midterms came, and I realized I knew the material fairly well. Studying was so much easier when I wasn’t trying to go back and read things to find the key terms or answer the study guide questions. Reading all the material ahead of time (like when it’s due) makes studying, and feeling confident about exams easier. I also noticed that I was much more confident when I participated in class because I actually knew what I was talking about! Another thing about doing all the reading leading to greater participation is that your professors will notice! I’m not saying become a total suck-up, but it’s good to build relationships with your professors, and they definitely like people who participate in class.
I never really appreciated required reading until I got to college. Maybe professors are just better at picking what should be read, but I really enjoyed a lot of the reading from my first year! A lot of the reading really enhances my understanding of the course, and the reading material always shows up on exams, so it helps me do better in the class. There’s the also the whole, “I just feel smarter,” thing, but that’s a little cliché, so I won’t dive too far into that. Another thing that helps me with required reading? If it’s for a major class, buy books new so that no one else has written in the margins, and you have free rage to annotate, which means yes, you should definitely annotate. When juggling multiple classes across a single subject, notes in the margins of the readings will help you remember what you wanted to talk about or what you thought about the reading! What have you learned about the necessity of reading while in school?