For full-time students in 2021, striking a balance between work and fun pastimes can be challenging, to say the least. In the midst of attending classes, practicing basic self-care, and investing oneself in extracurriculars and on-campus organizations, it’s safe to say that time itself can become a valuable commodity, one that can easily become all too scarce in the flurry of responsibilities and obligations that come with becoming an independent young adult. Therefore, the practice of allocating a part of one’s day to a hobby or seemingly idle pastime can appear impossible to comprehend, let alone to prioritize. But all the same, young women must realize that not only is their time valuable, it is also meant to be divided hierarchically. And yet, a lot of us young women find ourselves feeling guilty when choosing to read a chapter from a new book or work on new music playlists to surprise a friend with. How can we best combat this guilt, when twenty-four hours in a day can sometimes feel like it’s not nearly enough?
The Los Angeles Times aims to both identify root causes of students’ frequent inabilities towards pursuing pastimes, as well as emphasize the importance of hobbies, stating,
“... the advantages of having a hobby are numerous. Research shows that people with hobbies are generally healthier, with a lower risk of depression, dementia and high blood pressure. These are some of the physical benefits. Hobbies are important means of redirecting the mind away from the day’s schoolwork and onto something that is hopefully more enjoyable, relieving the stress of the day. This has an impact on the quality of life, school, study time and family relationships.”
But despite these numerous physical, emotional, and mental benefits, students today still struggle with that all-too-limited quantity: time. So how can we solve this dilemma? Perhaps incorporating the development of skills and interests should be done a little at a time, instead of jumping headfirst into initially challenging hobbies such as gardening, drawing, and cooking. In a further note from The Los Angeles Times, they argue the following:
“The key element about hobbies is that they involve doing. Instead of sitting in front of a screen, having a hobby encourages a person to actively participate in something, whether it’s acquiring new stamps for a stamp collection from someone halfway around the world, spending a day at a rock and mineral show or crafting a bowl from clay or glass.”
Though free time can look drastically different depending upon the student in question, and stamp-collecting or glass-blowing can definitely appear a little out there for most people, the initial point The Los Angeles Times makes can particularly resonate in our current day-and-age: replacing “screen-time” (as cliche as that may sound) with five minutes of a pastime that doesn't involve work or school represents a simplified and yet surprisingly rewarding way to de-stress, while simultaneously learning something new (like how to knit, how to better your photography skills, learn a new instrument, etc.).
At the end of the day, it should be recognized, and validated, how much students have on their plate. Not to mention how much they are expected to be perfectly well-adjusted adults by the time they're done with their schooling and ready to enter the workforce. These expectations can become weighty and overwhelming for young women in particular, who already face pressures in the form of sexist prejudice in academia and career fields. But the fact remains that we retain our own agency to determine as much as we can of our futures, and developing passions along the way can make that scarce commodity we call time pass a lot quicker on the way to leading meaningful lives.