Senior Advice: Find a hobby

Senior Advice: Find a hobby

Caitlin Husted, Editor in Chief

Between homework, extracurricular activities and attempting to have at least a small social life, one thing I’ve let fall to the wayside is having a hobby.

I become so caught up in all my other activities that trying to find something to do in my “free time” seems impossible. However, I was reminded of the importance of a hobby last year during an interview I was doing for an article I was writing for the newspaper.

I was writing a story on the ever-famous ice bucket challenge, and I wanted to get the opinion of a few professors in order to give my story a new spin. It was as I was sitting in one professor’s office, asking him questions about the ice bucket challenge that I had a mini-mental breakdown. Thankfully, no tears were involved, but I may or may not have poured my soul out to this professor. Oops…

Thankfully, he didn’t seem scared or awkward; he just let me talk about it and then asked me, “What do you do for fun?”

I sat there for a second, scrambling to think of what I did for fun anymore, and realized that I had no idea. After telling him this, he went on about the importance of having a hobby that I did just for fun and just for me. I nodded along, thinking that yeah that would be nice if I had any extra time to devote to a hobby, and left the interview feeling slightly embarrassed and even a little frustrated.

It wasn’t until a couple months later that this professor’s words finally resonated with me. I was sitting at my desk, staring at my computer screen, trying to do the readings assigned for a class. And it hit me that I did nothing but homework. Every day, I would get up, go to class and do homework. I would do readings while I ate. I would write papers in my “less important” classes. I would do homework right until I went to bed. Then I would wake up and do it all over.

I realized that this wasn’t how I wanted to spend my time. Yes, homework is important, but there’s no reason to let it control my life. So, I set out to find a hobby, which was more difficult than I anticipated.

Since I couldn’t just not do homework (I mean, I didn’t want to just fail all my classes), I had to find a hobby that I could do in short increments. Running, which was a hobby in high school, took up too much time and just exhausted me. Not to mention that I’m overly competitive with myself, so I managed to make running stressful by setting unrealistic goals.

Horseback riding, which was one of my hobbies since I was nine, was unrealistic since there aren’t a lot of places to ride horses in the area. Not to mention that I don’t have that kind of money to take a lesson every week.

It took some time, but I found two hobbies that are great stress relievers and are easy to do in short or long increments.

The first one is reading for fun. I do so much reading for school that sometimes, I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than turn one more page. But by reading a book that I thoroughly enjoy rather than just reading for class, has reminded me why I like reading in the first place, which makes reading for class a little easier. Reading also allows me to take a break from my own life and enter into someone else’s. It’s nice to set down the homework, turn off the phone and just sit and read a book I actually enjoy.

My second hobby is one that not many people appreciate enough when you’re over the age of 5: coloring. Believe it or not, this is the best stress reliever I’ve ever found. There’s something incredibly soothing about focusing on a design. There’s something about being able to control what colors go where, what picture I color and even how long I color it. In a world where it seems like I lose control a little more every day, this is a simple way to add a little control back into my life. Not to mention that when I’m done, I have something to show for it.

Now while my hobbies may seem boring or a little ridiculous to you, I’m just glad I finally found something that I can do just for me. I encourage you to find a hobby as well. Go for a walk, throw a Frisbee or maybe join an intramural team. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you take a moment and ask yourself, “What do I do for fun?”