I asked Emily to write this post because I know so many of my students who were voracious readers during their time with me in middle school, but often they leave and lose reading in their lives for a while; however, Emily has been able to find time during her busy schedule to read, so I wanted her to share some secrets to hopefully help out other high schoolers/students who may need some support.
“Reading During High School”
by Emily Peraza, rising senior in high school, Kellee’s student from 2015-2018
I think we can all agree high school is a rather dynamic experience, and the main takeaway from now going onto my senior year is that time management is essential. As someone who is a rising senior but also concurrently on her sophomore year of college at Valencia, I get the worst of both worlds; the cliques and stress of high school classes (4, to be exact), as well as the stress of 4 college classes but sans the dorms, friends, and general blossoming in your post-high school years. It is rough at times and I have a hard time staying in the reality when deadlines approach and pressure folds in. So, I resort to escaping into the world of literature! It also catches me into its loving and accepting arms, and teleports me somewhere that mythology papers, district meetings, and council calls cannot affect me.
One of my fatal flaws is that I despise being idle and not expanding my horizons, so sometimes I will push away reading because it can “distract me” from real life. But lately, I have been procrastinating my work by reading something I like, or researching the new SSYRA books I swore by in middle school. 🙂 My grandma, who also loves reading – we usually trade books – purchased me the sequel to a book I read in middle school called, The Mark of the Dragonfly. The sequel is named The Quest to the Uncharted Lands, and I still love this series. All of my extracurriculars have books or audiobooks I can indulge in when the stress caves in. Let me share some examples!!
Student Government Association – As a student government member, leading is something very important to me, and I can always improve my ways. Nobody is perfect, and I can always be smarter, kinder, and a better example. Books on and written by my role models, such as Angela Duckworth’s Grit keeps me motivated and allows me to see my potential.
As a student going into her fourth year in learning the French language, an AP French student, and a member of the French National Honor Society, audiobooks in French have helped me LOADS. From fantasy translated, or books originally in French, my pronunciation and accent has improved so much. My favorites are 100 French Conversations and Short Stories, Stephen King’s Revival en Français, and Moi, Tituba Sorcière… narrated by Audrey Fleurot. These have helped me grow as a student, especially being remote all year.
My internship through Character Lab has also sent me some very uplifting and books that make me think and reflect. They have sent me Reshma Saujani and Dr. Marc Brackett’s books, Brave Not Perfect and Permission to Feel, respectively. These books taught me to garner my emotions to propel me in a growth mindset, and really allowed me to explore my feelings and engage in a reflection within myself. I think many people play it safe and allow their perfectionism to hold them back. This unanimous fear of failure has bridled us and many students, including myself, have lost our sense of being and confidence because of the idea that we need to be perfect. But Ms. Saujani’s book has made me realize that I need to put my feet in the water and put myself out there. Please take a look at these wonderful books!
Other than reading about other clubs and sports, I like to fit in non-curricular books into my free time as well. Whether this be (in a normal year) on the bus, before practice, in the morning outside the band room, or even during water breaks. I am able to slip in a little bit everywhere! This keeps my mind sharp and it makes tasks much more bearable. I picked up a job at a hotel to help the housekeepers with the increased travel lately, so I put in my headphones and either watch some anime series or listen to an audiobook. During lunch, I’d rather read a physical book or an e-book because I have the luxury of holding something to keep my mind from wandering.
I have even picked up a hobby of reading manga, which is so nice when my brain is fried from school or other activities. I read the entirety of Attack on Titan, which I HIGHLY recommend. It sucks you in and the dystopian setting with intricate call backs and a very intertwining plot has me reeling from the lack of plot holes and how history seems to be connected exactly with the future. Chainsaw Man has become one of my favorites, with its hilarious main character, Denji, and the heartbreaking story of his life. Some more of my go-to mangas are JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Tokyo Revengers, Demon Slayer, and Blue Lock. There are series for sports lovers, romance people, or someone who just loves a crazy fictional universe.
In order to support my quest for amazing books, I visit my local branch library (which also has audiobooks, books, movies, For Dummies series, manga, and music). I am a regular there and usually take my work to the back after checking out a few books. They also have very interesting classes, so log onto your library website to see if you can learn something new! I use Archive of Our Own on web to access short stories or poems made by people my age and like me, Wattpad for ebooks and published works by fantastic authors, pdfs found online for my classes or for personal reading time, MangaFox for online manga, as well as Audible for ebooks.
Thank you so much for reading, and I’m so happy to share how I fit reading in! I cannot admit I am a perfect reader; I lost my spark getting into high school for a little while juggling Student Government, rigorous classes, and a sport. So please, I advise you to take it slow and don’t burn out. It is okay to take a break and discover new genres or mediums for enjoying literature! Enjoy your summers and expand your horizons. 🙂
Thank you so much, Emily, for your awesome advice!!