In just a little over two weeks, you’ll be joining your BCC 100 classmates at your instructor’s home for a lively dinner discussion of The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen. No doubt some of you were half way through the book by the time you got home from SOAR. And others of you made a schedule and diligently worked your way through the book by the end of July. But maybe you’re that person who, despite the best intentions, has barely cracked the book and you’re either a. anxiously wondering how you’re going to finish it with all the other things you have to do or b. craftily thinking of strategies to fake your way through the discussion. Neither of those responses is a good way to start college, but don’t worry. We’re here to help.
1. Make a schedule. Set a date for when you want to be finished with TGFR, count the number of days until then, and simply divide the number of remaining pages by the number of days. Voila! You now have a plan. And just having that plan is going to take an enormous amount of stress off your shoulders.
2. Find time. Yes, the last days before going to college are full. You have people to see and places to go and a ton of packing to do. And maybe you’re working all day. But you can always squeeze a little extra time out of your day (an excellent habit for college success, btw). Getting up just 45 minutes earlier than usual will give you time to make yourself breakfast and settle in for 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading before your day starts. If you can’t haul yourself out of be any earlier, take a look at your lunch break or that time between getting home from work and heading out for the evening. If nothing else works, a lot a half hour just before bed.
3. Find a place. Don’t make the mistake of reading in bed—it’s too easy to fall asleep—but do find a comfortable and pleasant spot, free of distractions where you can relax and concentrate for an extended time. The kind of deep reading you need to do to complete this assignment (and most of your college reading) takes extended focus.
4. Make yourself comfortable. Yes, reading TGFR is an assignment, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable. Make yourself a snack, put on some non-distracting background music, dim the lights or make whatever adjustments you can to pamper yourself just a little. If settling in to read is associated with a sense of luxury and well-being, you’ll look forward to your daily reading time and be able to relax and really engage with the book.
5. Stick to your plan. Whenever and wherever and however you decide to tackle it, read until you’ve completed the number of pages you set for that day. You will be amazed at how good it feels to complete a task and knocking out a chunk of the whole will reassure you that you can get this done. Even better, if you engage with the book for an extended stretch of time, it will open up to you. You’ll find yourself being drawn into Will Allen’s narrative, having questions about what happens next, arguing or agreeing with the conclusions he draw. And all of that will not only make this summer reading assignment more enjoyable but will also prepare you to contribute meaningfully to the discussion in just a couple of weeks. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!