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Campus NewsCampus Special
Read... How do you do that Again?
Whang Joon-yong  |  jy_whang@hanmail.net
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승인 2012.04.16  02:04:04
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

   
 
The things we do can be divided into four large categories. What is urgent and important, urgent but not so important, not so urgent but important and finally, not so urgent or important – in other words a waste of time. As can be predicted, people with common sense usually do what is important and urgent while people who might lack that certain ability would end up spending time on things that are not so. Things that fall in the so called ‘a waste of time’ category could be activities such as going out with friends or drinking with your seniors. However there could be some rather dramatic differences according to one’s values or beliefs. For instance if someone gives friendship a higher value than studying, it could end up in the important but not so urgent category. However there is a particular activity that certainly has its roots dug deep inside the important but not so urgent category which everyone can sympathize with and that would be reading.
On the 9th of November 2011, there was a rather disturbing article in the Sisa Journal. It was rather short but something that most could sympathize with. According to a census conducted by the side job portal site ‘Albamon’, the average internet usage time was 3 times the amount of time spent reading. Actually the average amount of books that people read was 2.9 books per month, but there should be some people who felt a prick in their conscience right there since 17.3% actually answered that they didn’t do any reading at all.


1. How many books a month do you read that are unrelated to your major?  1.74
2. How many times a month did you go to the library for activities apart from study? 3.153
3. Do you think that you do less reading than other college students?
51 replied as yes.

   
 

According to the library – 2011 1st of January ~ 31st of December 17.295 books were borrowed from the central library per student on average.

However that is statistics were on a whole variety of people, so the Chung-Ang Herald took a census of 72 CAU students to find out how much CAU students read, went to the library to read and whether they felt that they read less than other college students. Surprisingly enough, the average amount of books that students read unrelated to their major was 1.736, approximately 1.2 books less than the census from ‘albamon’. Since the census taken in CAU did not count books that were related to the student’s major, it was obviously less than the actual average but still it would be difficult to cover up 1.2 books. Also it seemed that most students only went to the library to study. But the fact that 33 students out of the 72 students went to the library once or not even once a month clearly showed that the library users were mostly students who came very frequently. The data that showed that 17.285 books were borrowed from the library on average is definitely a more accurate censor. However owing to the fact that most students only read the parts they need from books they borrow and most read less than 10% of the total amount of pages they have borrowed, it would be difficult to state that students have read an average of 1.44 books a month.
Actually, though reading books may seem more or less of a means of having indirect experience and therefore may seem not that important, there have been studies showing that it is actually quite important. There is a concept called core competence which shows how well one can solve problems using knowledge and skills in different environments. So to put short, it is a very important aspect which decides how easy it would be to learn anything and this enormously important factor seemed to show significant correlation with reading and the usage of the library. According to a dissertation at a catholic university submitted in December 2011 called ‘A study on the relationship between reading activities and the core competencies in college students’, people who read and use the library more often, clearly had a much more higher core competence than those that read and went to the library less. Thus, reading turned out to be not merely a pastime or something for fun, but a factor that could raise your core competence. This might make reading a much higher priority for many people. Although the importance of reading has been stressed by millions of people in the past, it has always been difficult to pinpoint scientific evidence to those who are not convinced. But now one can clearly know that it is an inevitable factor of life that must be done
So, the CAH had a short interview with a professor from the department of philosophy

Q The amount of reading CAU students do these days is falling dramatically, what do you think this is a problem?
A Well firstly, I believe that the purpose of reading can be divided into two categories. Firstly, one could read for the purpose of attaining knowledge or secondly just for the fun of it.
If I recall my university days, I remember that most students read books to fulfill the longing to know about the world. Books that one could not have access to in high school could be found at university so people started to read and just for the sake of reading, people would even learn new languages. However that didn’t necessarily mean that the books were related to our own major. Owing to the fact that people read stuff like the ‘literature quarterly’ etc, one can notice that people would also seek books that gave joy. Roughly if put in ratios, when including books on my major, philosophy, books that could be categorized as humanities would take about 70% of all my books.
Do I believe that people from my generation read more ‘books’? I would have to agree on that. But when comparing with the current generation, it comes to mind that perhaps reading was simply the culture of my generation
However one must not forget the fact that the ‘grammar’ and ‘expression’ has changed dramatically since the 21st century dawned. A certain 10 minute clip made from EBS gave a very powerful impression to me. It was a clip that stated that people are beginning to lean from videos rather than just spoken words. After that clip I thought, ‘Yup, it’s definitely changed.’
In this 21st century paradigm, I believe that reading has definitely changed a lot as well. My generation did not have the access to information so we had to read books to find it. But now we live inside a flood of information. There is simply so much that digesting the information for ourselves has actually become difficult for us to do. Consequently, our head might be finding something more powerful so that it could have a rest. Perhaps a recent article that showed that the books that got borrowed the most were fantasy novels was not a coincidence.
Also, the change in university life definitely has played its role. The university students these days who live in a cycle of graduation, job seeking and dropping out. Students these days end up reading just to survive in society. Reading has become a pastime that only the bourgeois class can enjoy. Perhaps this is the reason why the current generation has difficulty in squeezing out time to read.
Q Do you believe that the reading certificate system will be effective?
A Haven’t we all tried that a lot? All those book reports we wrote in our school days (laughter) and we all know that those were not really effective… As I said before, the role of libraries are very substantial. To put it bluntly, why on earth are fantasy novels inside a university library? I thought those were supposed to be in the comic rental store. I believe that the library should consist of books that are not for the student’s needs but what the university needs and what the university wishes the students to read. Also instead of making a structure where you need to read a certain amount of books to graduate, wouldn’t it be better if students begin to talk about books and have more interest in them?
To put it short, I have a very negative opinion on the reading certificate system. Instead of using time and money on that, I believe that ‘filling the library with good useful books’ and ‘hiring a more professional librarian’ idea would be a better one. I believe that good books have some kind of magic that we don’t realize and that makes us want to read even when we’re not forced to.

Reading has always been a subject that most people get stressed about. 51 students out of 72 replied that they thought that they did not read as much as others. This means that only roughly 3 out of 10 people think that they read enough books. But now we know, we should definitely be reading more. It may not be our fault that reading is becoming an activity that is constantly getting farther away from us, but that does not mean that it is not fine to read books. Society deters us from reading books, but at the same time, it is reading books that allow us to succeed in it as well. May CAU students need to not forget this for the remainder of their school years and after that as well.

 

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This article delivers nothing new to the reader. Statistical figures provided are also nothing new. Did the interviewee request anonymity? Why was his/her name withheld?
(2012-05-08 21:07:00)
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