I have always enjoyed flexing my creative muscles. For as long as I can remember, my free time has been filled with drawing, painting, beading,crocheting—and basically any other form of arts and crafts you can think of!
My first years watching YouTube were spent almost exclusively watching tutorials on how to make toys for my dolls, cards for special occasions, room decor, back to school supplies… the list is truly endless. Unfortunately as the years have passed, I’ve gotten busier and my creative endeavors have taken a backseat.
In high school I was still occasionally able to make time every now and then to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. Even if it was just an afternoon painting with friends, creativity still had a place in my life. And during quarantine, I found that making art was a great way to release all of my emotions and fill up my time.
When I got to college, though, things changed. Suddenly, the time I had once been able to devote to art was now being filled with endless hours of reading and writing, trying to make new friends, and acclimating to my new environment. Not to mention that the shoebox–sized dorm I was living in had barely enough space to fit my essentials, let alone art supplies.
So, I spent my first two quarters at college in a completely different way than I had spent the first eighteen years of my life; there was rarely a time, if ever, where I was able to embrace my creativity and just make something.
Now, I am sure that if I had wanted to I could have found time to put aside for art. However, I felt so burnt out from college life and my declining mental health that I simply could not find the motivation within me to just go for it.
The burnout I was experiencing was so bad that I ended up going on medical leave during the spring quarter of my freshman year. While at home for six months with not much to do other than focus on feeling better, I suddenly had a lot of free time on my hands. And, in true Sloan fashion, there was nothing I could think of to do with this time other than create.
At first, I was spending only about fifteen minutes working on a necklace or pair of earrings before I became overwhelmed and exhausted. Eventually, I worked my way up to where I had once been: spending hours on end crocheting a new bag or meticulously working on my next Diamond Dotz masterpiece (I became absolutely obsessed with Diamond Dotz over those six months).
I was on a roll, creating more than I had in so long. Then, it was suddenly time to return to school, and once again my creative endeavors fell to the wayside. Fall quarter, I probably spent a total of twenty minutes working on the art project I had brought down from home.
When winter quarter came around, I moved out of the dorms and into a house with nine other people. One of the first things I noticed in my new home was the abundance of yarn sitting on the shelves. This got me excited.
Luckily, it turned out that I was completely right to be excited! This past quarter, I have spent tons of time making things, and even learning how to knit from one of my new roommates. And every now and then, there will be a night where a bunch of my housemates and friends sit around the TV and watch a show while working on our individual projects.
I am so grateful for nights like these, since they remind me to make time for the things I love. Getting to do it with the people I love makes it even better.
So, if there is one thing this past quarter has taught me, it’s that making time to do things that bring you peace and joy is so important. If nothing else, it gives you something to look forward to while working on projects that may not be the most exciting. Whether it is knitting, or another hobby like reading, running, or dancing, there is only good that can come out of making time for and taking care of yourself.