Nonfiction Is Better After College

Learning on your own terms

I used to strictly read fiction. I thought nonfiction was boring. Fiction used to make me imagine fanciful places and absurd situations. I spent most of my childhood with my nose stuck in a book ( Harry Potter, Magic Tree House, A Series of Unfortunate Events, etc.). Nonfiction reminded me of college — it was dull, dry and required. It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I discovered my new love for nonfiction.

The one thing I miss about school is learning about anything and everything. Reading nonfiction outside of college is more enjoyable because

  1. There are no assignments or reports to write when you finish,
  2. You get to choose the curriculum, and
  3. There is no time limitation.

Reading for knowledge can be enjoyable. When you take away the homework component, you don’t have to worry about your grades and can just absorb what you need. If you don’t want to read a section of that book about graphic design because you spent 4 years getting a degree in design, then don’t! You get to pick and choose what you want to retain because you’re building your own syllabus. You decide when, what, and how long you want to dedicate to learning about the subject.

Once I graduated I realized there was still so much I didn’t know. I discovered podcasts which then made me want to read more in depth about the topics I was listening to. For example, I listened to Historical Figures and an episode of Ologies about Egyptology which made me want to read a historical biography about six female pharaohs. I listened to My Favorite Murder podcast where they recommended The Michigan Murders, a true crime book. I also listened to an NPR podcast about how to get a job after college which made me want to read a book on design thinking. After deciding to switch careers, I read a book about the fundamentals of copywriting. I needed to learn about the millions of topics I didn’t get to read about during college. I haven’t read a novel in over a year.

One of my favorite genres of nonfiction is the memoir. I love learning about other people’s journeys. I want to know the struggles they had, their insights, and how they overcame those hard times. Reading a memoir is like reading a diary — it’s so personal and intimate, you can’t help but wonder if it’s okay to be reading it.

I especially enjoy reading about people’s career paths. I still feel like I’m trying to find my way when it come to my career. I feel like the more content I consume, the better equipped I’ll be for my future. I want to be successful, but I know that there might be obstacles along the way.

Reading nonfiction teaches us not only about other people, but about ourselves. It shows us how we are constantly evolving and learning and enhances our own journey.

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