Does being a graduate student interfere with your love for extreneous reading?

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Does being a graduate student interfere with your love for extreneous reading?

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Jul 11, 2009, 9:56pm

Hey all.

I am soon to start a PhD program in Education, and I understand that I will be doing a lot of reading for both my classes and my assistantship.

But I am a vocacious reader, whose primary hobby is reading books and reviewing them on amazon and other sites.

Question: as experienced grad students, do you find that all of that class and school reading decreases or increasses your desire to read other stuff in your free time?

Jul 11, 2009, 11:57pm

Sadly, yes. For me at least. Since I write and read all day, the last thing I want to do at night is read more. Hence my rabid addition to TV.

Also, I don't know how it will be in your program, but the reading you will do in graduate school is much different than casual reading for fun. It involves more note taking and takes a lot longer if you are reading for research purposes. I had to completely re-learn how to read.

Jul 12, 2009, 12:34am

No, but my love for extraneous reading does somewhat interfere with being a grad student. ;)

Jul 12, 2009, 1:33am

lol at fyrefly

my fun reading dropped off considerably during grad school, although i also tried to have a light book to read at night just to have something different.

Jul 12, 2009, 3:01am

I think it depends on what kind of reading you're talking about.... As a graduate student, I don't really have time to read books in my field (medieval history) that aren't directly a part of my research or an assignment. I have a huge list of books that I am going to read as soon as I finish my dissertation (some day in the distant future).

However, I don't think graduate school has interfered with reading fiction. I always need a good book to read at bedtime or in waiting rooms or on the bus, and that is always fiction.

Jul 12, 2009, 10:33am

Hell, working and undergrad put a big pinch on my hobbies and the one to suffer the most was non-academic reading. It's been a couple of years since I've managed any fiction not written by Jacqueline Carey. I've crammed in a lot of scholarship and kept my other hobbies up, but extraneous reading is almost nonexistent for me.

Jul 12, 2009, 4:19pm


This is worrisome. I am in a somewhat unique situation because my study (education, the philosophy and politics of) will be the subject of my PhD study. The way I figure it, though, that is all the more reason why I may not want to do extreneous reading in a subject that I am working so hard on daily.

I am also a member of the amazon vine program and a top amazon reviewer (252 at the moment). Reviewing is a large hobby of mine (as nerdy as that sounds) and I really don't want to decrease my reading "output" to nil.

But we'll see.

Jul 12, 2009, 8:20pm

Kevin, my other hobby is tabletop RPGs, which I haven't slacked off from. But something had to give and non-discipline/relevant reading was it.

Jul 13, 2009, 5:36pm

I found that as I read for comps, I read even more "junk" at night to decompress. In with the academic, decompress. Now I'm writing my dissertation -- actually writing rather than sitting, staring at the wall and thinking about writing, I'm not reading much else. It disrupts my writing right now.
Short answer -- yes, and no.

Jul 19, 2009, 5:08pm

I've found that my reading and reviewing has dropped off precipitously, particularly after I moved from taking classes (with well-defined schedules, tasks and deadlines) to doing research (which devours all the time I give it and then demands more). I seem to have gone from reading roughly a book a week to roughly a book a month.

Grad school hasn't really decreased my desire to read so much as opportunities to read. As I mentioned a long time ago in the now-dormant "How do you make time to read for the fun of it?" thread, I tend to get sucked into books to the detriment of my work. This has led me to become wary of starting new books for fear of the amount of time they'll take to read.

I'm in the physical sciences, which doesn't involve as much reading as other fields -- mostly source code, software manuals, and technical articles -- so my experiences may not be relevant.

Jul 27, 2009, 5:50pm

I'm in the same boat as #9 - I read easy reads that are quick usually at night when my brain hurts and I need a mental vacation. I hate TV so those quick mystery reads are it, other than the research and books required otherwise.

I have an ever growing list of books I really want to read and can't wait until I am finished and can break into them!

Jul 28, 2009, 2:45pm

No, but my love for extraneous reading does somewhat interfere with being a grad student.

Lol, this.

Last fall the shelf with all the translation-facing-original Old English books were right outside one of my classes (class met in the library). I'd leave with great armfuls every week. As a full time student, I still read at a rate of more than a book a week.

Jul 28, 2009, 3:03pm

Not the amount of reading has changed since I started on my PhD, but I think the kinds of books I read have changed.

I notice that when I have to do a lot of reading for scientific purposes, I prefer the easy Grisham-like books in the evening. When my scientific reading load is a bit less I tend to read more literature.

All in all, my library has become more impressive with the addition of the scientific books I have read :)

Jul 29, 2009, 4:57pm

Grad school has totally interfered with my reading for fun. I'm finishing up my dissertation this year (year 7) in Comparative Literature and I can honestly say that during years 2-6, I actually disliked reading and couldn't finish a single book I started. I missed loving to read, so last year I cut myself some slack, joined a book club, and started reading light stuff whenever I had a few minutes. And I definitely love reading again. Grad school just required me to read so much - so much of what I didn't enjoy that I had no energy for what I did.

I totally agree with #2 - I also had to re-learn how to read. and #5 - I only read fiction that is related to my diss.

Jul 30, 2009, 8:50am

Count me among those who get saturated reading the materials for school and therefore have the desire for more reading sucked out of them. This happened to me pre-grad school, though, so that may be an indicator (i.e. if you still enjoyed reading for fun during other times you were a student, being a grad student may not change this). I find I'm more drawn to knitting and other crafts in front of the TV or with public talk radio on (I have recently discovered archived programming at CBC Radio 1 and love it!) while the thought of reading for fun just doesn't seem fun, unfortunately. I've only read about a dozen books this year.

Ago 3, 2009, 11:42pm

Yes, it is very hard to find time to read for pleasure. I still try to keep a book going (and bring it everywhere... you never know when you're going to have an extra 10 minutes or so), but it takes a lot longer to finish books. I find it hard to decompress with a book at night, as that's the time for me to fold laundry, go through my children's school papers, pack lunches, etc.

Ago 4, 2009, 3:11pm

Yes, it has! I have so much 'serious' reading to do that I feel guilty when I read for fun. Or just deliciously decadent!

Ago 7, 2009, 2:31pm

I think increases my desire...
But as I get busy with college stuff, sometimes I don't have free time to read what I want. Such a shame!

Out 15, 2009, 3:26pm

I know precisely how many of you are feeling. During grad school I did not have the time or energy to read much, and when i did I always felt guilty it wasn't something related to my research. I made a long list with books I wanted to read when I finnished my studies, but I have to admit I was fed up with books and reading for a few months after. Now on the other hand, I read more than ever:)

Just hang in there, when you finnish grad school (and you will finnish, though it seems very far away) your appriciation of reading just for the fun of it might be even greater since you've been unable to do so for a long time.

Out 16, 2009, 12:33pm

Yes and no.
As a lit. grad. student, there is considerable overlap for me, but often I am still reading with a pencil in hand.

I do like to read science fiction/speculative lit. no matter what else is the moment's primary focus.

Ahh, the side trysts with fiction...

Out 16, 2009, 12:46pm

Like lots of others here,being a student certainly didn't stop me wanting to read but it did mess with the time I had available. As an English Lit student I found that much of the reading I did for the course had a big crossover with the reading I did for pleasure, so no problems there, but it was sometimes quite hard to get through some of the less fun stuff (Germinal, Heart of Darkness)when I knew I had brand new novels crying out to me.

Much to my relief, once I'd graduated I found that I enjoyed my reading more than ever, though. In fact, learning about the books I read was the best thing I ever did. Good luck with your studies - they might mean a bit of a rearrangement of your leaisure pursuits for a few years, but things do settle back again eventually.

Out 25, 2009, 4:17pm

What free time? I find as a grad student that you have much less of that than before. I still have the same desire to read, and do, but much slower than before. I look forward to the time when I am done, so that I can once again enjoy "frivolous" reading.

Editado: Out 29, 2009, 9:06am

I'm naughty. I'm always sneaking a peek at non-school-related books. I'm incredibly frustrated that I lose so much reading time during my commute. I live in an Atlanta 'burb with very limited and unworkable public transportation, which forces me to drive, which prevents me from reading on the fly. After thieves stole two radios with CD players from my car, I no longer listen to books or poetry while I drive. Reading for comps will be like a paid vacation as far as I'm concerned.