Column: Have a Hobby

After my parents dropped me off for my freshman year here at BJU, my dad took up sewing as a new hobby. He literally read a book about sewing, bought his own machine and began sewing within a week. Personally, I think he started this hobby to cope with my leaving home, although he’ll say differently.

Now just so you don’t get the wrong mental picture, my dad is a chemical engineer, so he’s not sitting around sewing dresses in his free time. He actually sews burlap coffee sacks into tote bags, and over the past two years he’s gotten pretty good at it.

But that is just one of his hobbies. I can think of at least 20 that he has cycled through over the years, including tennis, chess, roasting coffee, collecting model trains and recently, sewing.

His shortest-lived hobby was probably when he tried to take up trumpet. It ended when my brother and I (who are both brass players) perfectly played the scale he had been trying to master for the last half-hour. That and the fact our dog kept running out of the room with her ears down.

If my dad doesn’t have enough time for one of his hobbies or he gets bored, he’ll move on to a new one. My family teases him about being the “king of hobbies,” but it’s his way to unwind after a stressful day at work. And it’s still profitable because he’s always developing a new skill set.

Perhaps because of this background, I’m a pretty strong advocate of hobbies. (I suppose it’s in my blood.) The first semester of my freshman year, I would sit in my room all day Saturday, studying and doing homework. To be honest, it was miserable! Now I know better. I need to do something or go somewhere to get my mind off the workload and stress.

Now don’t get me wrong, being studious is a good thing! But I’ve found that often when I take breaks and come back to my work, I’m actually much more efficient in getting it all done.

Right now, while we’re in college, is probably the best time to start a hobby. Try to find something fun that brings down your stress level. It can be as simple as coloring with crayons, running, or even just napping. If you want something a little more involved, you could participate in a society sport, hike at nearby state parks, or start a unique collection by “thrifting” on Saturday mornings. Whatever hobby you choose, it won’t be just a time killer — it can actually help you make the most of your time.