Hobbies are More Important Than You Realize!
Finding the balance between academic life and leisure in college is something I'm still working on, but I'm doing better this term than any other. It's easy to get caught up in the formal aspects of college – like completing homework assignments, attending office hours, fulfilling extracurricular time commitments, etc. Something I wish I'd realized prior to starting college here at Dartmouth is that, at the end of the day, this is still your life, and you control all aspects of it. During my first year, I dedicated all parts of my life to academics, resume building, getting internships, etc. Don't get me wrong, you should do those things but not at the expense of your personal well-being. This is just another stage of life – you still have to eat, take showers, do laundry, and work a job (for some). I suppose this may be something you already know, but I don't think you'll fully understand it until you get here. Reconnecting with old hobbies of mine is a perfect case study to illustrate my point.
Lately, I've been rekindling my passion for an old hobby: coin collecting. I was introduced to this pastime by both my grandfather and my dad when I was little. To this day, there's something special about holding a little piece of history in your hand. I've been told this is an "old-person" hobby, but I don't much care… I love it! Yet, I completely stopped making time for this hobby when I moved away for college. There's undoubtedly less time to do such things, especially during your first term of college, but I would argue that you need to make the time. You need to keep doing the things that give you a sense of identity and belonging while trying new things along the way. You don't have to drop everything that made you happy in your "old life" because you're now going to college where you'll only have time to do assignments and may occasionally hit the gym. It's the same life, you just need to manage your time a little more efficiently and prioritize things. For me, I thought college was a completely different life, and it is in certain aspects. However, in my experience, I think it's imperative to hold onto the pastimes you hold near and dear to your heart.
Fishing is another great example to reinforce my point. Granted, I did well with this one for a while- I went fishing frequently during my first term on campus and ice fishing during my freshman winter. Since then, I've gotten involved in more extracurriculars, research projects, and upper-level classes that are more of a time constraint. Once I let these hobbies go, I felt some of my identity and happiness going along with them. Again, you need to prioritize these things. I think it's easy to let them go in the moment because you can "always pick it up again later." However, you don't truly realize just how much it meant to you until you haven't done it in forever. Just this week, I went ice fishing for the first time in months and got my first career Northern Pike! (Pictured in the main photo above). As far as coin collecting goes, I stroll over to some local banks every once in a while, ask for a particular denomination of coins (half dollars are my favorite) and search through as many as I can to find silver coins! I won't get into the nitty gritty details because I'll end up righting another paragraph or two geeking about this hobby. I'll leave you with a picture of some of my recent silver finds and cool coins below.
Make time for the things you love to do the most. It takes time management and setting priorities, but it's certainly feasible. I've found it immensely beneficial to hold onto the hobbies that contribute to my identity. Don't lose those in your life!