How to Keep Your Brain Strong and Healthy
This blog was written by Megan G. our Campus Ambassador at Champlain College. She is studying social work and will graduate in May of 2012. Currently she is interning at The Arbors at Shelburne in VT, an assisted care facility, and hopes to continue on to grad school to earn her Masters in Social Work.
If you’re like me, you usually don’t have time to read books for pleasure. You have all you can handle with keeping up in assigned readings for five classes each semester (give or take)—most of which are dry textbooks. Your goal: get through the chapter as fast as possible while looking for the few most relevant points to take notes on.
Well, Intern Queen readers, I’m here to tell you why it is just as important to keep up with reading for pleasure! After so many years of reading efficiently (identifying main points and capturing those in the form of notes as quickly as possible), your brain becomes wired towards this behavior to improve your efficiency. While this is helpful for getting the job done, it doesn’t allow for additional ways to think problems through, or for improving the variety of solutions that you have the ability to generate.
The first couple books you pick up to read for fun outside of an assigned reading are so difficult to get through! You probably will find that it takes you a lot longer to read and process the information you’re supposed to be picking up on, and that if you missed something because you’ve read too quickly, you’ll have to start again from where you lost your train of thought. It’s important to stick with it! The more you read for fun, the easier it will get in time. You may even find that your reading speed and comprehension skills perk up quite a bit!
Be sure you’re taking time to work some of those brain muscles you haven’t worked in a while! Buy a Sudoku book, the first book of a fictional series that appears somewhat of interest, or a classic old favorite! Whatever you choose, your mental capacities will be sure to increase, giving you the advantage in all of your regular have-to-do tasks. Perhaps you’ll think in a new way, or in ways that you haven’t for a very long time. This could be beneficial not only to you class work, but to your job and/or internship as well! And as for any of those fictional novels—they provide a great escape from reality for when you just need to let yourself go and get away for an hour or two.
Keep challenging yourself this semester! Go forth and acquire new skills, and allow your brain to rewire itself for overall self-efficiency!