The Joy of Exploring New Activities
Updated: Apr 13
Hobbies have increased my willingness to learn, as well as my appreciation for the world around me. Throughout high school, I spent the majority of my time focusing on sports and video games. Playing football through the fall and baseball through the spring, I was constantly occupied with practice and games. When I would finally make it home from school around 6-7:30pm, I would typically spend my time finishing homework and playing video games which, as you might suspect, were sports themed (Madden, MLB, etc.). While this pattern wasn’t particularly harmful, it severely limited my scope on the activities and hobbies I could have been exploring.
Upon graduating, I had no plans to further my sports career because I was completely motivated to spend the majority of my time improving my academic standing in order for me to transfer to UC Berkeley. While this went according to plan, I realized I had too much free time to be doing nothing. Up until this point, my life had been so consumed with sports that anything outside of this seemed boring and unproductive. I could not have been more wrong. Through recommendations from friends, I began to explore various hobbies and activities which I had been so accustomed to passing on. These include reading, skateboarding, joining a chess club, taking part in the Young Artists Movement, hiking/exploring, keeping a journal, and expanding the scope and genres of music and movies that I listen to and watch. Toward the beginning, some of these hobbies were a bit hard to keep up with and difficult to learn (chess was a rough go), but over time I became more connected, and for the first time I genuinely felt like I was creating some individuality within my life experiences. For the remainder of this post, I figure it is best to explain the significance of each of these activities and hobbies to me and why I would recommend them to you!
Reading: I began reading for leisure when I was in elementary school, but somewhere along the line I lost the motivation and pleasure of doing so. I began reading again after I entered a thrift store and picked up a couple books that seemed interesting. I fell in love with reading so much that I decided to change my major to English (now rhetoric). I have become fascinated with the various artistic styles of storytelling from author to author, in both fiction and non-fiction books. Reading has helped me improve my vocabulary and grammar. Reading has also helped me to appreciate the artistic properties of novel writing and narrative design.
Skateboarding: I decided to pick up skateboarding as a hobby with a group of friends primarily because I had already been an avid longboarder when I was younger, and I felt like skating would be a nice change of pace. I didn’t know at the time how fun skating could be. There is something magical about finding an object or structure and using it as an obstacle to conquer. The satisfaction of going to the store to buy some wax with the sole intention of wasting it all on a curb so you can slide right across it is like nothing else. While it might not seem like it, there is a surprising amount of determination required to land a trick or clear a gap. While skating can be frustrating, it can be equally satisfying through the sense of accomplishment that comes with it
Chess: In my second year in college, I met a friend who was sitting alone in the dorm hall study lounge with a chess board in front of him. Much to my surprise, he decided to teach me the game, and I would later find out that he was the head of the chess club on campus. Of all the games I have played in my life, I found this to be the most satisfying. There is no luck in winning and it takes a great deal of mental discipline to defeat a skilled opponent. Despite the competitive nature of the game, I was able to find a very encouraging and friendly community within the chess club.
Art Club: Toward the beginning of November 2021, a friend of mine invited me to join the Young Artists Movement at UC Merced. I hadn’t considered myself as having any substantial level of talent in any particular art form, yet I was able to find a supportive community within the club. I was able to learn that you don’t need to have any spectacular artistic skill to participate in artistic activities. Art in itself is subjective, anyone can enjoy it. Art clubs in general tend to offer activities that anyone can participate in and showcase their artwork.
Hiking and Exploring: While I had grown up camping with my family, I seldom enjoyed it and I took nature for granted. Throughout high school I spent plenty of time outdoors, but often to compete or practice for field sports such as football or baseball and rarely to enjoy nature and wildlife. When I realized I wasn’t getting out enough in college, I made it a point to get out and go for some hikes. In the past two years, I have found joy in nature by stopping and taking advantage of opportunities to explore the outdoors and hike trails that lead to breathtaking areas and experiences. Participating in and enjoying human culture and art is important, but the experiences and enjoyment of the natural world is just as important.
I chose to share these activities in hopes that whoever reads this is inspired to try new hobbies and activities even if they don’t seem exciting. I realize that not everyone will find the hobbies and activities I shared to be enticing but everyone has opportunities to expand their list of activities. As cliché as the saying is, you won’t know if you like something unless you try it. Even if it's as simple as listening to new genres of music or watching different genres of movies, don’t be afraid to give it a try! If I can share the joy and fun I have had by exploring new hobbies and activities with anyone, then it is more than worth it!
Logan is a third year English major at UC Berkeley and has aspirations to work in either journalism or Law! He enjoys reading and writing and has been building upon these skills since beginning his college career. His favorite book is Ill Met by Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss. He enjoys camping, fishing, skateboarding, and playing chess and Nintendo games.