Hobbies at uni: How to find time to practise your passions

21 Jan 2019
By Ebony C., Student at University of Portsmouth

My hobbies have always been an important part of my identity. Not practicing them for even a week essentially feels like losing myself.

University, with its hard work and always-imminent deadlines, can make it near impossible to get in that much-needed leisure time. But in reality, it’s the perfect time to take your hobbies up a notch and even get involved in new activities.

But where do you start?

Check out your university’s societies

From things you’ve loved your whole life, to things you probably never even considered - your students’ union has it all.

I signed up immediately with the Equestrian Society, having ridden before and wanting to get into it again. The organisers are friendly and accommodating to different needs and budgets. Plus,I learned more in one lesson here than in my whole two years of previous riding experience.

Whether you prefer getting stuck in or just meeting up for coffee and a chat, you’re sure to find something that works for you.

Take inspiration from friends and your new city

Have you met somebody at university with different interests to you? Chances are you simply admitted you don’t share the same passion and moved on with the conversation. But these interactions are filled with opportunity.

Take it in turns to show each other your hobbies, you might be surprised at how rewarding it can be. On a similar note, many cities have events and activities they’re famous for, whether it’s surfing, live music, or art. Get into the spirit of things, you’ll find even more reasons to love your new home.

Set aside a regular time to express yourself

Finding new pastimes can be great. But if you have lifelong passions as well, you don’t want to lose sight of them.

Set aside designated times to practice your hobbies, and try to make your time slots regular. This will give you a routine to look forward to and ensure that you have some time to relax amidst the chaos of everyday student life.

Bring your passions into your study

There’s no better way to learn than to enjoy yourself while you’re doing it. Creative hobbies can be used to complement your revision. If you like to draw, use sketches and doodles in your notes and revision materials. If writing’s your thing, storytelling is a great way to get those key details in.

Knowing how to use your interests to your academic advantage may require imagination, but if you enjoy it and it helps you there’s nothing to lose. Of course, you don’t have to bring work into everything. Time dedicated entirely to yourself - purely for enjoyment - is just as important as your studies.

Stay motivated for the things that drive you

With everything happening around you - work, socialising and everything else - by the time you have an hour to yourself you probably just want to flop in front of the TV and zone out. It’s understandable. There’s nothing wrong with that at all but don’t lose sight of the things you enjoy.

I’ve struggled for a few years to find the motivation to draw - something I’ve always loved to do - because my life has been so busy. But picking up the paintbrush, calligraphy pen or stylus has really kept my morale up, especially during difficult times. I feel a lot better about myself when I have a few active personal projects on the go alongside university work - even when time constraints mean it takes a while to complete them.

Don’t give into the temptation to do nothing every time you’re free. Instead, take pride in doing what you can do.

Get out there and have fun

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of your hobby or trying something out for the first time, be proud of the fact that you’re doing something to better yourself. Even if you’ve never had any extra-curricular interests, there’s always time to start.

New friendships, skills and reasons to be happy are to be gained, and you won’t regret it. Why not visit your union’s website today?

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Hi, I'm Ebony! I'm a first year studying Palaeontology at the University of Portsmouth. My interests include rock and metal music, scientific illustration and, of course, reading and writing. I'm passionate about bringing science and art together and believe research and creativity go hand in hand. I also love giving advice - I hope you find my articles helpful!