Why Popular Materials?
You're in college, right? Who has time to read anything other than textbooks? Write papers? Submit assignments? Take tests?
Actually, you might find that you're a better student if you do take some time away from physics/accounting/psychology/engineering/American history/geology/political science/WHATEVER. Your brain can get overloaded if all you do is study, so sometimes taking a break for a little while just to read or watch something for fun can help your overall concentration.
And we're going to be just a little bit sneaky here, too....some of the books and DVDs listed might actually help you in class! For example, wouldn't reading Geraldine Brooks' Year of wonders : a novel of the plague (set in London in the mid 1600s) help you learn something about life in 17th century England for a history class? Maybe you could learn about the plague itself for a history of medicine or epidemiology class. If you have to read one of Shakespeare's plays, such as Hamlet, wouldn't your comprehension be enhanced by viewing a really great production or just listening to someone read it aloud?
So, yes, study and do well here at USI, but also take some time for yourself by enjoying a great book, DVD, or audiobook.
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