Don’t Wait to Jump on Your Hobby-Horse

As students, it's easy to fall into the mindset that everything we do should align with our studies or career prospects. This mindset leads us to spend all of our free time studying, to only take part in extracurriculars that directly benefit our career aspirations and to only take advantage of opportunities if they’ll look good on post-grad applications. But, this mindset ignores the fact that not everything we enjoy doing and are passionate about has to be related to our studies and long-term goals.

I didn’t escape this mindset when I came to university and now, in my third year, I still find myself struggling to do things simply because I enjoy doing them. I’ve also tried to do my best academically, and upon entering university that mindset quickly migrated into my hobbies. If I wasn’t the best writer then there was no point in doing it; if I wasn’t the best artist then there wasn’t a point to even trying; if the book I wanted to read wasn’t for class then I couldn’t merit having the time to read it. My passions and interests began to slowly be replaced by watching videos on the internet and Netflix because there wasn’t anything that I had to excel in. I wasn’t passionate about them, nor did I have to think or put in an effort to access or interact with them, thus they were easy.

I’ve slowly been trying to rediscover the things that I used to love doing in my spare time, and reminding myself that even though I love these things and, of course, would love to use them in my daily life post-grad, that even if I don’t, then it’s still okay to enjoy them. 

There is no reason not to read a book outside of your classes if the premise interests you. There is no reason not to take that cooking class because you are interested in learning a new skill. There is no reason to ignore the things you enjoy or even want to learn just because society has convinced you that all of your free time should be spent on studying, assignments or other coursework. University isn’t just about getting a degree, it’s about learning who you are as a person and that includes learning about your passions outside of the academic realm.

So, join the club that doesn’t have anything to do with your degree and meet people who also enjoy those things. Western and the affiliates have more than enough clubs that no matter your interest—there is no reason why you shouldn’t pursue it for the simple sake of enjoying it. You don’t have to be the best at it or know everything to take part, you just have to have a genuine interest in it and that’s enough. If you have fun along the way, why shouldn’t you take part?

We are all going to waste time doing things that have nothing to do with our degrees at some point, so wouldn’t you rather “waste time” doing something that you genuinely enjoy? We may be passionate about our programs and what we study, but odds are if you love art, or music, or video games, or cooking or any other number of hobbies society has deemed are a waste of time, then wouldn’t you rather do one of them than something that you don’t love? After all, if you’re passionate about it, even if you aren’t the best—and may never be the best—at it, is it truly time wasted to do it?

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