WKU Wellness: Book Buoys

Vidhi Parekh, Commentary Writer

If one were to think of college as a boat, then it could be said that social media is the life buoy which students riding the boat often utilize. Almost everyone you run into has some variation of this. It has also become the fundamental definition of “relaxation” for college students. Feeling tired? Scroll through Instagram. Sitting around a student lounge? Snapchat your friend. Need entertainment while eating? Watch Tiktok.

While our boat may be driving its way through life just fine, is there a better way to navigate through? A route that could actually improve your cognitive function while also providing a source of entertainment? 

The answer is reading a book. Losing yourself in a good book is linked to numerous benefits. Not only does reading give you a source of connection to other people, but it also gives you a path of connection to yourself. 

Empathize easily

It is easy to connect with others through social media, but through reading, you can grasp a stronger hold on understanding what other people are feeling. It increases your ability to empathize with other people. In a world full of superficial direct messages and formal likes, having the power of empathy is an asset to maintaining genuine relationships. 

Sometimes we may feel overwhelmed under the weight of our problems, and it can feel like our boat is on the verge of hitting a glacier. 

At such a climactic scene, it can be helpful to pick up a book. Flipping through the pages, you will soon find yourself in that character’s position. Through igniting your imagination, leisure reading lets you emotionally reflect and connect to the fictional characters. Maybe you can find a solution to your problems through this. 

Unwind your mind

Most importantly, just like any cruise ship, leisure reading provides a source of escape for your mind from the troubles of the day. It is a good way to unwind your mind and stop it from rewinding too much into the past. 

Through this, your stress levels will also decline, and that really lightens the load you carry on your back all day. According to a study conducted by the University of Sussex, reading reduces stress levels by 68%. 

It can be helpful for me to say that as college students, we are all in similar boats. Although our boats are traveling in different directions to get to unique destinations, it is important to rest along the journey and soak in the beautiful moments. The boat will keep running, but as travelers, we must take care of ourselves, and one way to do that is through reading.

Hope you can find a good book to read. Bon voyage.

Commentary writer Vidhi Parekh can be reached at [email protected]

If you would like to submit a reaction to a piece, Letter to the Editor or other submission, please send it to Commentary Editor Price Wilborn at [email protected] or [email protected].