Jessica is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program at NSU. She currently works as an academic success coach at the Tutoring and Testing Center.
As we trek along through the new year, I see many people have made New Year’s resolutions. However, something I have noticed among NSU students is that these resolutions are typically limited to clichèd activities that many think we should be doing. For example, I’ve heard a lot of people saying that their resolutions are to focus on health and fitness. I’ve also heard that resolutions are related to some type of “adult” responsibility, like budgeting. These are great resolutions — don’t get me wrong — but I’m challenging you to pick up a hobby that can lower stress levels, grow your social circle and strengthen connections, as well as increase your marketability.
Say goodbye to stress
We’re busy. We have school, and work and lives. I get it. You can challenge yourself to pick up something new, or even something weird or unusual. You might end up discovering something you absolutely love that can eventually become your escape from the aforementioned school/work life. According to Psychology Today, participating in a hobby can help to alleviate stress; which can be particularly helpful for college students. Consider choosing an activity that allows you to create something, like woodwork, painting or pottery to keep your body and mind busy. Or, perhaps a hobby that allows you to change your focus, like meditation, yoga or aerial silk artistry can help to calm you after a taxing day.
… and hello to new friends
According to Huffington Post, picking up a hobby could also help you to build your social circle. Have you ever been to dinner when about fifteen minutes in, everyone’s on their phones, not talking to each other? What about hanging out at home with your roommates or family where everyone is sat in front of the television, with their laptops and phones spread out in front of them, with no one making eye contact? I guarantee that if you start looking for these phenomena, you won’t be able to unsee them. A great way to reconnect with your friends, and make new connections, is to pick up a hobby. You will be amazed at how much easier general communication becomes when you practice those skills at home and with your friends. If you learn how to better interact with people, then group projects, job interviews and presentations can feel much less intimidating. Additionally, building your social circle equates to building your social support system, which translates to having people to turn to when you need advice or need to vent.
Boost your marketability
Having a skill in your repertoire sets you apart and can be important when entering the workforce, because it makes you memorable in interviews. In fact, according to Business Insider, it might actually make you more valuable to a potential employer, because your skills may be eclectic enough to be applicable in a variety of work settings. For example, if you have the basic skills necessary for the job, but you can also speak another language or have graphic design skills, you are automatically more marketable, depending on the job.
If you’re at a loss for ideas, you can visit Orgsync to take a look at all of the clubs or intramural activities that NSU offers. There you can use the search tool to find the general characteristics of what you’d like to get into and take it from there. Of course, you can also use Google to find organizations or activities in your area to get involved with. New hobbies, new skills, and genuine connections with people in real life are actually super important for university students. All I’m saying is, consider picking up a hobby this year because your new outlet can add much more than face value.