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For as long as I can remember, my creative outlet has always been writing. I could never really sing, draw, or dance, but writing was always my way of expressing myself and relaxing. I would consider myself a pretty creative person, but I had never really explored my artistic side outside of that until recently.

At the beginning of the semester, my RA set up a Bob Ross-esque painting station in our floor’s common room. There were watercolors, stacks of paper, and a cute poster advertising the benefits of art. I am by no means a “good artist,” so I was a little hesitant to pick up a paintbrush. But I’ve always told others that they should never let their skill level stop them from trying new things, so why not apply that to my own life? 

two people painting together
Photo by C. Z. Shi from Unsplash

I’ve been painting a lot since then, and it has been so therapeutic and fun! What I love most about my new hobby is how versatile it is; you can go in with a plan or even a coloring book template, or just freestyle and see what happens. Grab some friends for a fun group activity or paint alone with earbuds in. If you end up with something you’re really proud of, it can also be a thoughtful gift for someone in your life.

Art that I’ve made, and some that my friends have made for me, fills up the corkboard in my room, and I have given some of my pieces as gifts to a bunch of people. None of it is amazing, but I enjoyed making all of it, and that’s what matters. I think that enthusiasm and willingness to try are the most important things!

Photo by Steve Johnson from Unsplash

Painting is so fun, but the act of simply starting a new hobby has been really nice and rewarding in and of itself. I would recommend it to everyone! Try something you’ve never explored, especially something creative. The best part is that there’s no skill required! There’s never any pressure to be good at it, so it is a welcome change from the usual academic stress.

Taking up a hobby is a great way to stay motivated and unwind. The worst outcome when trying something new is that it doesn’t work out. At its best, you could find something that you end up loving and learn more about yourself. There’s a lot of research on the benefits of art for mental health, and it has personally helped me so much.

Starting a new hobby has truly been an adventure into an uncharted, but extremely rewarding territory. Who knows what I’ll try next!

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Hi! I'm Martha, and I'm a psychology major from New Jersey. I love reading, writing, listening to music, eating ice cream, and meeting new people!
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