Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Life > Experiences

How to Answer This Seemingly Complicated Question

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

“So, what do you like to do in your free time?”

Teenagers and young adults have been asked this question a myriad of times. From job interviews, college applications and even in everyday conversation— chances are you’ve faced this elusive question.

It may have been phrased differently, but the sentiment stays the same. If you’re like me and have an internal freakout anytime someone asks you a question that’s personal and has no right or wrong answer, know you’re not alone.

I hated this question with a passion. It wasn’t until I was interviewing potential new members for a club I’m a part of that I realize just how important that question is.

Though this question may seem conversational, how you answer is important. It offers insight into who you are.

I’m not saying you’re defined by your hobbies or what you like to do— that would be ridiculous. However, it offers a small glimpse into the things you enjoy and even the kind of person you are.

Speaking from experience, it can be awkward and embarrassing when you can’t find an answer to this seemingly simple question.

I guarantee there something you like to do for fun. A hobby you have, an interest, even if you have an affinity for trying new things. There is something you do, like to do or want to do that could answer this question.

There are the obvious answers such as hanging out with friends and family or relaxing. These are valid, yet a bit run of the mill.

Most people likes to hang out with friends and spend time relaxing. So, to answer this question successfully you have to think deeper.

Do you enjoy learning new languages? That’s a hobby.

Do you like to read? That’s a hobby.

Like going to the gym? Also a hobby.

Those are some of the most run of the mill answers, but that’s not a bad thing. But make sure that you can back up your answer.

For example, think of answers to possible followup questions: what do you like to do at the gym, what got you interested in it? Who is your favorite author? What is your favorite genre?

Make sure you’re not just saying what you think the other person wants to hear. You’re interesting and unique, you don’t have to pretend to be interested in something you’re really not.

Not interested in any of these? That’s completely fine. Almost anything can be a hobby.

Did you play an obscure sport in high school? Or maybe your hobby is memorizing Taylor Swift’s entire discography Maybe you love going on adventures?

You get the idea.

Your answer doesn’t have to be something overdone, but it doesn’t have to be that unique either— your answer only has to be you.

When you’re honest and your true self, your authenticity shines through. So, don’t be afraid to be you!

One last tip: this may seem obvious but it is 100% possible to have more than one hobby, or even ever changing hobbies. People are fickle creatures.

We’re constantly changing and adapting who we are. That being said, don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things. You never know— a hobby you never thought of could become the new love of your life.

Chelsea Nakhleh is a sophomore at Penn State University studying digital print journalism.