February 10 2016

When your hobbies from home don’t get unpacked with you at college By Meg Tousey

When completing your college application, the most strenuous part was writing your college essay. This essay told a story of what represents you. The college then asks for your GPA, your junior year finals, and even your midterm grades for senior year. This too is stressful, keeping your grades sky high so you can attend the college of your dreams. Then, you continue to tell the college about yourself, and all of your accomplishments.


There is a specific section dedicated to hobbies. Those may include sports, arts, dancing, cooking, the theater, the environment, and so on. You compose a long list of all you can think of and orchestrate your accomplishments along with it. You become very proud of yourself. You remind yourself of all you have done, and how you would like to use it in the future. It’s an incredibly pleasurable feeling. You add yourself to your graduating class Facebook page, come up with an appealing post to find a roommate, and you can barely breathe. It’s everything you could ask for.


Suddenly, it’s the end of senior year, and that’s when it hits you. You’re officially over the hump, getting up at 6:00 every morning to go to that jail cell called high school. You don’t have to take any more standardized tests. You say goodbye to all of your classmates, your teammates, your teachers, your coaches, and childhood friends. You are moving on.


You spend your summer buying tapestries, comforters and sheets, toiletries, and a trunk full of your favorite snacks. Move-in day arrives. You and your parents are in a rush to get you unpacked so you can explore all of the opportunities around you. There’s the club fair, the games, the classes, the parties, and it’s all at the tip of your fingers. You are introduced to people taking your major or those who have different majors, people who take the same classes as you do and those who don’t, people who are from your home state and people who are from all over the world, all in one campus.


A few weeks go by and you’re feeling like you’re missing something. You try out for the club sport team you played in high school, but don’t make it. You don’t make it into that one art class you were hoping for. You audition for the play, and are an understudy. You’re just not feeling yourself anymore.


When your hobbies from home don’t get unpacked with you at college, it doesn’t go over well. Your anxiety levels are higher, your aggression is a little pronounced, and you’re feeling deprived. It feels like you can’t even get through the day. Your life and all your accomplishments feel like they’ve been left in the boxes in your basement, and are starting to pile up with dust.


Your parents told you to follow your dreams, but those dreams drove back home with your family. These are not easy feelings to get over, and in my head, I know this, but in my heart I feel an emptiness. Dance is my greatest passion. I have been a dancer for 10 years. I tried out for the dance club, because the dance team and travel club were a little too demanding for me as a freshman. The tryouts, to be polite, were not really meant for newcomers, and I felt defeated.


To cope with this, I now take dance exercise classes at the gym. Although I don’t learn routines or have a show, I have met people who enjoy dance like I do. I have also participated in philanthropy events with my sorority and I am dance captain of my sorority’s Greek Sing.


It is not easy to unpack your hobbies with you at college. It has been a challenge not to be able to jump around and relieve my stress and anxiety from school, friends, and life. However, there are gateways to your hobbies and the relief they provide. There are intramural sports, stress relief rooms where people are able to paint, using a friend’s kitchen off-campus, discovering other clubs, finding acting classes, or take trips to the arboretum. These are all obtainable, it just takes a little ingenuity and push.


So there is an up-side to a challenging path in college for you and your hobbies from high school. With a little creativity and openness other opportunities are there for the taking. But isn’t that part of what college is supposed to be about?


Read More About College:

Things I Wish I Knew About College, by Zara Puskuldjian

The Ultimate Guide To Staying Happy At College by Carly Kahan

What To Do When You Are Homesick by Mollie Clinton

What A Difference A Year Makes by Kelly Sodano

The Confident Girl’s Guide to Being A Freshman by Emma Bernstein

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