The pursuit of knowledge and know-how for smart living has been a historically lauded endeavor. In the time when there were no computers or televisions which basically considered as most thrilling options available, reading was a primary leisure activity. The acquisition of knowledge for knowledge’s sake and a keen interest in reading have usually been taken as students’ intellectual ambition and scope, marking them as potential great leaders and critical thinkers.
Of late, however, importance of reading habit seems to be deteriorating rapidly. University students including myself lost passion and skill to read. It is a shame since reading books offers productive approach in developing communication skills and travel to lands far away in our minds.
In 2000, universities and many people in the education community feared that the loyal fans of reading are dying especially on campus. As more people come to see college as essentially career training, there used to be a growing sense that students will turn away from reading yet focus on narrow, applied fields such as business or engineering.
Eventually, in 2006, eight Colleges of Liberal Arts in Korea expressed regrets over announcement of “The Crisis in the Humanities.”
However, when we look back at the second half of the twentieth century, crisis of several fields of studies seems irrelevant with employment but contains essential details of life, was a foreseeable future. Bombarded with media computers and video games, students’ reading habits and inclination of learning humanistic knowledge declined measurably.
According to the survey conducted by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the university students read average 2.5 books a years which is declined by 1.5 percent compared with 2009. Thus a recent survey indicates that average university students age from 20 to 25 spend only 24 minutes for reading whereas they spend most of the time glued on to their computer screen for instant internet searching or playing games.
The continued popularity decline of the reading among university students is simply reflected in the state of how they spend their leisure time. Statistics provided by University News Network explains that 21.5 percent of university students spend their day time for web surfing followed by 20.9 percent of students watching movies and 15.1 percent watching televisions. Only 11.3 percent of university students in Korea responded they read books for their leisure activity.
It is true that we are living in a society where steady economic downturn and tight job market are chocking students with pressure. However, when we look around in a larger perspective, it seems people are always busy dealing with their immediate gains without the long term objectives. In this case reading can be a healthy addiction which will allow stay in touch with contemporary while making you sensitive to your future.
Joseph Brodsky, the winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, once said “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” Here, reading does not necessarily mean it is limited to educational purposes only. Do not be disappointed that your bookshelf is filled with martial arts novels or fantasy novels. You can read anything include traveling, food, novels which hardly matters as long as you enjoy reading itself. Remember, indulging in at least an hour of reading a day is everything that I ask.
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