The Dog Ear: Reading to combat stress
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 22:09
If anyone reading this is like me, then you will have already been hit with work like a tidal wave despite it only being week three of the semester. I spent my weekend in the library working on organic chemistry lab reports and trying to learn kinematic equations for physics but I kept thinking of the moment when I could go back to my dorm to collapse into bed with a novel. Books have already eased the transition from summer pastime to stressful school work. I know I’ll greatly depend on them to help me through a particularly rough semester.
I couldn’t specifically determine why I felt I needed books so much to de-stress until I read an article called “Why Teach English” featured in “The New Yorker” by Adam Gopnik. The last sentences of the article reverberated in my mind as a reason why books have become so crucial in my life. “They help us enjoy life more and endure it better. The reason we need the humanities is because we’re human. That’s enough,” said Gopnik.
I agree; it is enough. We need books and the humanities to keep us whole. They make us think in different ways, are important to forming relationships and provide a new perspective on the world. They teach us how to listen to others and bring emotions to our lives when we are stuck in a rut. An author’s words can lead to a life changing epiphany. Music can bring creativity in our lives that we never thought possible. History can teach us about our past and art can paint us an imagined future.
However, as a pathobiology major, animal science minor who wants to be a veterinarian, my class schedule strongly contradicts my enjoyment of the arts. You can imagine the amount of science classes I have to enroll in, whether it is for my major, minor or veterinary school requirements. My mind may be focused on an abundance of science classes but my heart is sometimes somewhere else. My days may be filled with science but it’s a book I crave when the day ends.
Some students may feel guilty reading for fun when their textbook is going unread as a result. I feel the opposite. My guilt extends from hardly taking any classes that explore life. Life not from a scientific perspective but a perspective that calls for thinking abstractly about everything around us. I feel guilty when I look at a bestseller list and realize I haven’t read any of the titles or that my books to read list is growing too fast for me to catch up. Guilt is caused by the unread books on my bookshelf or a novel that I didn’t touch all week.
It’s important to study and complete assignments, but I think spending time each day to read and reflect on our lives is just as important. We need that break from reality a book can provide. When everything seems like it’s falling apart, books can help put the pieces back together and remind us what we are working towards.