To give you a good idea about how the University of Mobile’s Reading Marathon went, picture this: it is 4 a.m. in the morning. You are outside Bedsole Commons in a hammock, attempting to keep warm while another all-nighter lies in a heap on the cold pavement. Suddenly, you get up, grab the book from the current reader, and say, “Congratulations, everyone! That concludes ‘Purgatorio’ from Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy.’ We will now begin the final section, ‘Paradisio.’”
To anyone else, I think that this scenario would have been utter torture, but to me, being able to monitor and listen to reader after reader read the words of Dante Alighieri was truly amazing. It is so cool to go to a college like UM, where the student body can plan all night reading marathons purely for fun. Participating in that opportunity with other people was incredibly groundbreaking for me.
I first learned of this campus tradition at the beginning of this semester when my English professors brought the project to me. When they tasked me with planning and executing this event, I was unsure of my abilities; I have moved very fast through school, and I am still trying to determine if English is the best course for me. Despite my concerns, this project, last practiced in 2010, was fully revived in all its glory! Furthermore, I have found a peace in my desired field of literary study that I never expected, proving that God’s hand is in all things, even in staying up all night in 50-degree weather!
To anyone that listened or participated in the Reading Marathon, I hope this experience makes a lasting impact in your life. Throughout the night, we had visitors come and listen, bring us food, and read in entertaining and engaging ways. The experience culminated into bringing a community together; one that was able to laugh together, to eat together, to read together. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of that feeling.