The University Mindset and Reading

To conclude this mini-series about the university mindset, we need to look at reading. Because let’s face it, at university you’ll be set chapters and papers to read each week depending on your course and you need to do them. The lecturer doesn’t set these for fun, I actually doubt they want to flick through textbook after textbook or paper after paper trying to find students things to read. I think they would prefer to do the other million tasks they have to do.

Anyway, the whole point of these readings are to help further develop your learning because there’s only so much that can be taught in a two hour lecture. As well as this, these readings are to help you learn about becoming an independent learner and understanding the vocabulary of academia.

However, when students come to university, they tend to think these readings don’t matter, they’re pointless, and it’s a waste of time.

Of course, this isn’t a good mindset to have around reading because this sort of negative mindset ties into other areas. I truly believe that your attitudes towards reading tie into your beliefs about learning. Meaning if you hate reading then you’ll probably hate learning too and as we’ve seen in other posts, a hate of learning can be damaging at university.

Where Do Negative Attitudes Towards Reading Come From?

As always this is just my own opinion, yet these attitudes tend to come from two places. One- it comes from the student not wanting to learn and be actively involved in their learning. Two- it comes from the student buying into the myths about how easy university is and you don’t need to do half the things you’re set.

The Reality:

Now let’s unpack both of those areas.

When it comes to a person wanting to learn and improve their knowledge as part of their degree, as I mentioned before, you need to be proactive about it. You need to explore beyond what you’re set in classes and we all do this in different ways. Personally, I read extra book chapters from time to time on topics I’m interested in. For example, I recently read a great chapter of a book on Police Psychology.

Therefore, students need to change their thinking about reading as part of learning and that it’s fun.

Will all chapters and readings be interesting?

No. I have read some truly boring papers in my time but it was all part of learning and I made sure I tried at least. I made sure I approached the reading as something interesting and fun, not some evil chore that was going to ruin my day.

Since, I’ve learnt some of my favourite psychological facts outside of the lecture theatre and inside readings. For example, the “What The Heck Effect” and various thinking biases.

Therefore, I know I’ve said this before in different contexts but I truly do believe reading is great and it can be fun. It won’t always be but there will be times when you read something interesting and it will shock you. The “What The Heck Effect” did that for me.

So what will you discover in your readings?

Believing The Myth of Ease at University:

Now this myth is based in some truth because the first year of university doesn’t count towards your final degree classification and it’s a step down from your 16-18 year old education.

However, this myth becomes deadly if students waste an entire year and don’t develop the critical skills needed for the second and final year of your degree. I spoke more about this in the learning mindset post because if you start to learn the tricks of the successful Student Mindset early, then it becomes easier later on.

I know I found it easier than a lot of people in my cohort.

All in all, my advice here is from a mindset perspective, definitely use your first year to have fun and make new friends. I cannot stress that enough. But, also use it as a time to develop new skills and see if you need to change your mindset around certain topics.

And again this isn’t some evil chore, look at it as changing your perspective so you can do better in your degree for your future.

Mini-Series’ Conclusion:

As we come to the end of this mini-series (What Is The University Mindset? and The Learning University Mindset), I hope you’ve now started to understand the power of a mindset around university. As well as how it can help you do better in your degree so you can benefit for years to come.

In addition, the main theme of this series has been one simple thing: have fun or at least enjoy the process. In the grand scheme of things, you don’t spend a lot of time at university so have fun with it, learn as much as you can, make friends and try not to see anything as a chore. If you have a university mindset centred around ‘learning is fun, interesting and beneficial’ then the passion and interest will show in your work. Hopefully leading to better marks. But if it doesn’t, you’ve still had fun anyway.

Also, I should mention again that I am not perfect in my university mindset, I love learning and I am passionate about psychology. But I’m far from a perfect university student. I say this to encourage you that this mindset is a marathon and not a sprint. And that at the end of the day, I’m just like you. At Active-Class, the focus is on improving education experiences for all those involved. This is why we employ the use of a community blog, to help provide prospective, current, and former students with powerful insights from others.

So whatever you decide to do with this mindset information, I hope you enjoy your time at university and I wish you the best of luck on your university journey. Wherever it may take you!

Connor Whiteley
Connor Whiteley

Psychology Student and Podcaster