The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

Notes From an Average Girl | Books are a girl’s best friend

Notes from an Average Girl is a biweekly, relatable blog about navigating college life.
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Annika Esseku | Contributing Editor

In the first grade, I read my first chapter book. I went to Barnes & Noble with my mom. We stood just beyond the children’s play area. We discussed if I was ready and if I was a strong enough reader. 

“There won’t be any pictures,” my mom said, “only words.” Her warning didn’t scare me, it excited me.

Illustrated books limited me. They limited my imagination and my creativity. I would soon discover through reading my first chapter book that the lack of pictures allowed me to draw my own, to build characters in my mind as the descriptions on the paper held my hand, guiding me along. 

The first chapter book I picked out was “Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business.” I still remember my mom’s smile. Proud to pass on her love of reading to her youngest child, a love her other children didn’t share, it became a love special to just the two of us.

Entering middle school, and later in high school, my teachers assigned reading materials like “The House on Mango Street,” “The Crucible” and “The Odyssey.” I now had to read according to deadlines, exams and five-page literary analysis papers. I no longer had the luxury of picking out my own books. I was stripped of my literary freedom. 

Eventually, reading seemed not so fun. It became a task rather than an adventure. Instead of following willingly, my mom dragged me along to the library and Barnes & Noble. She begged me to pick something out. I would refuse, lacking the inspiration to meet new characters.

Isolated in my bedroom in 2020, I longed for a social connection with my friends. After getting bored of filling my time with lonely activities like baking and painting, I returned to my once-favorite hobby — reading. I went to Amazon and ordered “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” a book that still remains my favorite, as it escaped me from my five-year reading rut. Stephen Chbosky gifted me the company of Charlie, Sam and Patrick — a friendship that I could rely on during a time that challenged my own friendships. 

As COVID restrictions began to lift, my love for books was back in full swing, and my wallet took a hit because of it. That’s when my mom reintroduced me to my town’s public library, a place that fostered my love for literature at no cost — I couldn’t believe it.

When I moved away to college, I quickly found myself missing home. My whole life had changed, and I ached for even a hint of familiarity. Soon, I discovered the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. I felt grateful to my school for this gift it led me to find — a stunning library that seemed endless. 

It was triple the size of my hometown library. I swapped my one-story building for three stories, my raggedy old carpet exchanged with glass floors, my limited supply of books traded with an infinite collection. I’d sit on the benches along the windows that overlooked the Natural History Museum to the left and stacks of books to the right. I’d bury myself in the lives of my favorite characters, forgetting where I was. Suddenly, it no longer felt as if I lived 400 miles from home. It felt as if I was exactly where I was meant to be. 

Books have been a fundamental part of my life. They have stimulated my imagination and my creativity and inspired me to be the person I am today. They have influenced my future career path. They have been a pillar of consistency and comfort when I needed them most. 

Mom, if you’re reading this (I know you are), thank you for introducing me to my passion. Thank you for always nurturing my love of reading and believing in it — even when I didn’t. I love to love books with you.

About the Contributor
Madeline Milchman, Senior Staff Writer