Starting a new year of college is daunting and stressful for everyone, whether you are starting your first year or your last. You are rushing around making sure you have all the supplies you need, all the textbooks required that are overly expensive, and just making sure you have the essentials.
Then you start your first week and you're rushing to your classes and getting a feel for them and deciding whether you are going to keep them or drop them. With all this preparation and all these decisions, it can send your head into a frenzy.
From personal experience, I can tell you the college stress can get really bad sometimes if you don’t have proper outlets. These outlets ensure that you’re not sitting in your dorm, or bedroom, at home in the dark, alone, staring at all the tasks you need to do and not knowing where to start.
There is one outlet in particular that I have found really helpful. What is it you ask? Hobbies. That’s right, I said good old-fashioned hobbies. It may sound ridiculous and you may be saying ‘I don’t have time for hobbies’, but I’m here to tell you that you do and it is all worth it.
Having hobbies has a lot of benefits for you as a student and even as a person. For one, they help lessen the stress. I know you must be saying, "Well it would add stress because I would have to carve out more time I don’t have to do them", but you’re wrong.
Personally speaking, my freshman year of college got really rough and I found myself down and out more often than not. It got to a point that my mom had to come get me and shake me out of it. After that, I opened my laptop and just started to write. I took one of my favorite fictional characters and started to build a story around them and before I knew it I had about a 1500-word story. After that my writing just took off and I really began to enjoy myself when I was doing it. It is my way of escaping reality for a bit and getting out of my own head and into someone else’s. Writing these fictional stories and characters helps me to better cope with the stress and gives me initiative to get my work done. I tell myself. "Finish this homework assignment, then you can outline this story, or start writing this story".
My hobby writing has become something that is work, but at the same time it isn’t because I enjoy it. This is what hobbies can provide for you. Take something you really enjoy, whether it be a sport, an art form, or even playing with your dog and make it your hobby. Doing these things can help you connect with yourself and help you get a better understanding of what you really need in a time of stress.
These hobbies can also help build confidence. I know with my writing, at first, I thought I was horrible, and still do sometimes, but I started to post it on my blog and got praise and such nice compliments. I had people telling me they loved my writing, that I was a great writer, and that they couldn’t wait to read more. Safe to say that made me want to write more, it gave me more confidence, and made me happier, which lessened the blow of the stress I was going through.
So, with your hobbies, challenge yourself. Posting my writing online was a real challenge for me and it paid off. This can be difficult with some hobbies, but just be creative and have fun with it. That’s the whole point. If you like to read challenge yourself to read two chapters in a day instead of one. If you like playing with your dog try going for a run with your dog. If you play basketball see how many baskets you can make in a minute and try to continuously beat your personal score. Challenging yourself gives you something to strive for, which in the end when you reach that challenge makes you all the happier and probably forget what you were stressing about in the first place.
Time can be an issue for some. I get life gets busy and college makes it busier, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze at least 30 minutes a day to do something for you.
Trust me when I say I understand this. I am a full-time college student maxing out at 18 credit hours going to classes five days a week. On top of that, I work anywhere from 20-30 hours a week at my job and those shifts are usually 8 hours a piece, which takes my weekend as well as part of other days in the week. On top of that I have a house full of family and little kids that I adore and help with and couldn’t possibly say no when my 2-year-old nephew walks up to me and say, “Auntie Sommer, outside”. So, time for me is a virtue.
The way I maneuver through my schedule is on somedays I have anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours in between classes so I take that time to sit in the library and write, (which is where I am currently writing this). This gives me some “me time” while also sticking with my responsibilities.
So, if you have time between classes, use it to your advantage. If you have time between school and work, use it. If you have time in the morning before class, use it. Anytime you find yourself bored and have nothing to do use it to your advantage and do something you enjoy because at the end of the day it is only going to help you and make you happier.To end on a high note, go out shoot some hoops, read that book, write that story, or run around the backyard with your dog. Do what you enjoy and I’m sure that little escape will lessen the stress level and help keep you level headed throughout your college semester.