College can be stressful. For few, maybe it’s a breeze, but for many, classes and commitments can become overwhelming. Instead of swimming in a direction, at some point you have to try to simply float. A day of just making it through your pre-set schedule leaves you exhausted, making the goal of the next day to do the same. Thus, the cycle continues. We spiral down into times of boredom, living from weekend to weekend, or party to party.
I would argue that this way of life is draining. Even if you love your major, courses can be tedious, hard-work, and annoying. Greek life can be fun, but these big commitments can easily become too much. Activities you truly once enjoyed feel more and more like mandatory excursions. In a state of exhaustion, we choose to lay in our bed for hours or scroll mindlessly through TikTok, because we simply don’t have the energy to do anything else. This leaves people, including myself, feeling overworked and like they have “no free time.”
Most of us will only be at college for four years, and this habit of living a life where you’re simply catching up is just not enough. This is where I propose my solution: find a new hobby. Now I know what you’re probably thinking: “I don’t have enough time.” To that I counter: but you do. Hobbies aren’t exclusively activities that take three hours and a boatload of work. Currently, a New York Times game called “Wordle” is trending after blowing up one random night. You get six tries at a different five letter word, once a day. While, yes, sometimes it can take a little time, it probably takes an average of three minutes a day. If you do the Wordle, I’d count that as a hobby (like crossword puzzles–a word game). Simply put, hobbies should be something fun, something you look forward to doing.
Additionally, I think it’s important we pick up hobbies because the act of having them is dying out. In the era of phones, we have immediate access to instant gratification. Whether this be by scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, or any myriad of other apps, and suddenly, the time has slipped away. However, few of these activities actually revitalize you. But a hobby will. I propose reallocating some of that time to trying a new hobby. It doesn’t even have to be a full reallocation–I’m a knitter. I’ll often knit while watching tv or movies, but I find that I leave that time feeling much more accomplished. I’ve watched a show and I’ve made something, Leaving me feeling fulfilled and at peace.
The reason I think finding a new hobby is so important is twofold: first, I think it’s important to have interests outside of your planned career: three dimensional people are interesting people. Secondly, hobbies actually make life invigorating. Yes, it may take a little bit of your time, but having something you like quickly becomes something you look forward to, and it begins to make each day a little bit brighter. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself enjoying that part of your day. The point of hobbies isn’t to take away from your life, it’s to add. If you aren’t having fun with what you’re doing, it’s probably a sign to stop.
Now, how can you find a hobby? I think part of it is about your mindset. Trying new things becomes harder as you get older. Suddenly, you’re trying something at 20, while the person next to you has been doing it since they were six. That can be a little daunting. That’s why I think the best hobbies are found when you go in with an open mind. Don’t put yourself down. If you suck at painting, so what? It doesn’t matter if you’re good at the hobby or not. In the end, it matters how it makes you feel.
So, what counts as a hobby? This is where it gets tricky. In the pursuit of properly defining it, I looked it up… A couple times. Merriam Webster says that a hobby is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” Oxford Learner’s definition is “an activity that you do for pleasure when you are not working.” So, with all that, here’s my definition: “something you do of your own volition for fun.”
So let’s get specific on figuring out a hobby to try. I would recommend starting by thinking about what you enjoyed doing when you were little. As we get older, a lot of us discard activities we did when we were little in favor of what we think our future is–our career. Clubs, extracurriculars, classes, everything, become angled to curate the perfect resumé. When you were little, you knew what you liked and what you didn’t like. Go back and think. Did you like art class? Try painting. Find a local pottery place. Bring a friend.The worst thing that can come out of it is a funny story about a pot that’s disfigured and gone incredibly wrong. If you truly can’t think of anything that you liked as a child, try something entirely new! Look up a list of hobbies and go down the line. Some things are easier to pick up then others– be it cheaper, more accessible, or maybe you have a friend who can help you get involved.
Read, draw, paint, kickbox, garden, bake, hike, get super into cars, it doesn’t matter. Just try something. I’ve hyperlinked a list of hobbies here. If you really can’t think of anything, I can’t recommend knitting and crocheting enough. Both activities are lots of fun, and can be picked up easily. There’s a certain sense of accomplishment I can’t quite describe when you complete a project–it’s exciting when you can wear something you’ve made!
Also, if it adds anything, picking up a new hobby by next semester will give you an easy out when professors ask for an interesting fact about you at the start of the semester.