Students escape college stress with hobbies, passions

Parker Robb | Collegian Macy Warburton, senior in political science, started playing guitar six years ago when she learned for a mission trip. Warburton said she found a greater purpose in playing and hasn't stopped playing for enjoyment.Photo credit: Parker Robb.

Being a student is no walk in Manhattan City Park.

The general rule of thumb is that decent grades require at least two to three hours of studying per credit hour. If one is enrolled as a full-time student, he or she has a minimum of 12 credits, and between 36-48 hours, on average, are spent per week on academics. This does not even include the collective hours of outside involvement in student organizations or part-time jobs. The fact that most companies classify full-time employees at 30-40 hours per week only cements the truth most college students face at one point or another: this is our job, and we’re overworked.

That’s where hobbies come in. A hobby, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” A hobby presents a break from the often stressful realities of college and allows some time for re-energizing.

Sometimes those hobbies turn into passions that begin to drive our lives in ways we couldn’t imagine before. For some, sharing that passion with others is more re-energizing, while for others it’s more impactful when experienced alone. Macy Warburton, senior in political science, said she thinks everyone could benefit from having a private, or secret, passion.

I think having a secret passion allows you to let go of the expectations of others and just simply enjoy yourself and live in the moment,” Warburton said. “Sure, sharing a passion with others can be great, but having a more quiet one allows you to free yourself within it and energize yourself.

Warburton’s hobby of six years is playing the guitar her grandfather gave her. After taking a month to learn the guitar for a mission trip to Chicago, she said she found a greater purpose in playing.

“The only times I have made my passion known since then is in church settings and others like it,” Warburton said. “Other than that, it remains a secret passion for me, because I do not play to please others. It serves as more of a connection to my faith and being at rest.

In contrast to Warbuton’s privacy, Carly Dickter, junior in mass communications, has a passion for cooking that began her freshman year that she views as something to share, especially with her mom, who Dickter describes as an amazing cook.

I know everyone says that about their mom, but my mom really is amazing,” Dickter said. “Any mom can make good tasting food when they cook out of a Betty Crocker cookbook, but my mom has taught me how to make good-tasting food that’s healthy too.

Whenever Dickter travels home to her mom’s kitchen, it is not just her passion for cooking that grows, but also her bond to the woman who gave her the passion in the first place.

Honestly, when I was growing up, my mom was a single mom and usually had to cook things the night before, or she would pick something up because she would be working,” Dickter said. “So, it wasn’t really until my mom remarried that I got to see her cooking a lot. But since then, cooking has been probably the best times I’ve spent with my mom.”

It appears that many passions that developed from hobbies started with family, as was the similar case of Scott Poelzl, senior in kinesiology, when his uncle introduced him to the world of cycling.

“Well, my uncle had just gotten into cycling for health reasons,” Poelzl said. “My dad’s whole side of the family had a reunion in Utah, and the activity for that day was horseback riding. My uncle didn’t want to do that, so he asked me if I would go ride with him. Since I hadn’t exercised in a couple days, I agreed. I loved the freedom I experienced.”

It’s been three years, and Poelzl hasn’t stopped cycling. He has four bicycles (two he uses regularly), has participated in 10 races, has cycled an estimated 7,402 miles and said he doesn’t see himself braking anytime soon.

“I like [a] hobby where you can buy things to upgrade and continue the hobby for life … cycling is perfect for that,” Poelzl said. “It is a very expensive sport, but it’s worth it for a better quality of life, more active lifestyle and being a part of a great atmosphere. Most cycling groups are very friendly.

Regardless of what the hobby is, Warburton said she encourages everyone to find something they’re passionate about to lose themselves in.

Do something because you love it,” Warburton said. “Allow yourself to have something in which you can escape the outside world.