As the semester comes to a close and we approach finals season, it’s more important than ever to remind ourselves that it’s important to take a step back and find something to occupy our time during much needed study breaks. Recently, I’ve been having conversations with friends about what it is outside of our classes that we do purely for enjoyment, completely separate from our studies and professional development. Finding an extracurricular passion is a great way to find a release or temporary escape from a hectic schedule of Honors classes, club obligations, and Zoom meetings. For me, this has manifested itself in the form of my semi-regular trips to the Little Bob throughout the week to swim.
Swimming used to be an integral part of my weekly schedule before coming to college and was not something I planned to incorporate regularly into my college experience. But after pandemic circumstances left me without access to a pool for a year and a half, I suddenly found myself nostalgic for 6 a.m. practices and three-hour meets. When I got back to campus this spring, I decided to ease myself back into swimming, uncertain as to whether I would enjoy being back in the pool or not. I cannot quite describe the sense of relief I felt during that first lap, two years after my last swim season had come to a close. I immediately felt myself relax into a familiar pattern, remembering just how much I had enjoyed swimming, even when it was too early to see the sun and I hadn’t gotten a chance to drink my morning coffee.
Since that initial swim, I have started increasing the number of times that I go each week, currently dedicating at least three hours to a practice that I have found to be oddly therapeutic and meditative. On weekdays, spending the first hour of my day in the pool has the strange effect of being both relaxing and motivating. Starting the day focusing on monotonous laps instead of worrying about what tasks and assignments I have to complete allows me to center myself. An added bonus is the endorphin rush, which allows me to focus more fully on my classes and work afterward, giving me an extra boost to stay focused and motivated throughout the day.
For those of you who don’t particularly enjoy the idea of waking up at 6:30 in order to spend an hour in a pool, the good news is that there are a variety of hobbies you can find ways to engage with on or around campus. Whether you’re interested in yoga, dance, or crocheting, there’s a club on campus for you. It could also be as easy as (safely) getting together a group of friends from Redding to organize game nights, start a book club, or try out a fitness class together. Whether you have a hobby you picked up during quarantine that you want to be able to make time for again or you’re looking to try something new, there’s no limit to the possibilities you can find!
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