Sparking Your Interests

I’ve been contemplating how amazingly quickly life can pass you by. One day you’re popping out of the womb, the next day you’re in preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, graduation, then you’re folding up the shirts you deem most Colgate-worthy, placing mementoes from your childhood in tissue paper to pack so that they don’t collect dust while you’re away. As I prepared to depart my home in exchange for the unexpected beyond, memories flooded my mind things I’ve done, people I’ve met, experiences I’ve had, lessons I’ve learned. One particular gem of advice stood out to me. My mother and I were sitting at our dining table chitchatting when the conversation shifted suddenly to my personal interests. She asked me if I had a hobby I felt passionate about, to which I had no answer. Did I have a true passion in life? The question resonated in my head and left me feeling hollow I boarded the plane for New York not knowing for sure what fit in that gap in my life.

While I was not yet at the point in my life where I earned the right to live with a “passion for life” as many retirees do, the issue would not leave me alone. I felt that I needed to find my true interests and fill my time with more than just obligatory activities. Luckily, I found The Maroon-News as a way to engage myself in something I really love doing, but would normally not have time for in my academic schedule.

There are many advantages to being interested in a life beyond sports teams, social gatherings and school. First of all, having a hobby you’re dedicated to keeps you out of trouble. I know it sounds really cliché when I say this but it is true. I dabbled in many activities as a child: soccer, baseball, tennis, karate, community service leadership, class council, cello, Boy scouts, etc., and managed to stay away from “growing up too quickly” because I was too caught up in having fun and enjoying the simple pleasures in this life that we too often bypass. My parents didn’t so much overprotect me as they did introduce me to a wide range of what constitutes the world.

Secondly, having a reliable go-to project gives you a purpose in life beyond attending school. When times get rough, it’s good to have a solitary activity that you really enjoy coming home to and losing yourself in. The confidence that you are assured to feel while letting out built-up tension from the day gets you through to push forward. In addition, the focus and determination you apply to your passions in life can be transferred to the rest of your activities. If you are able to apply that same drive to every aspect of your life then things will start to feel easy. Writing is my way of “escaping it all” and delving into a side of me that doesn’t get a chance to be expressed in daily life an artistic, verbose, expressive side of me that you know through the Maroon-News.

Thirdly, having multiple interests makes you an interesting person. Having a common overlapping point is the best way to make friends that genuinely care about the life you don’t automatically project. The best part about sharing your interests with others is when you influence their decision to engage in that same activity. A shy girl in my high school graduating class, who I had gone to school with since ninth grade, suddenly appeared at our variety show armed with a saw and a cello bow. She sat down, spread her legs and began to bend the saw at various angles while moving the bow back and forth. The next day, everyone was talking about her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and people who had never seen her before were suddenly clambering to eat lunch with her. You don’t have to play the saw to get people to notice you, but being forthcoming about your hobbies intrigues others and lead them to be interested in you as a person.

I feel that it is important to establish a wide range of interests not only for the reasons listed above, but also because it keeps your mind fresh and open to new ideas. One of the biggest temptations in our generation is the tendency to be complacent. Go out and try different activities you’ve got nothing to lose and you will soon reap the benefits.