It’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday; the regular crowd shuffles in…🎵
But you’re still in bed, with your hands on your head, feeling bored again!
It’s the weekend and all of your friends are off playing sports, working on art, or traveling to a wildlife sanctuary to volunteer. They’re cooking paninis, sewing new blue jeans, or writing their next fan-fiction piece. It feels like everyone’s life is more interesting than yours, and there’s only so much TikTok and YouTube you can consume before you just want to roll back over and sleep.
You don’t have any hobbies. What on Earth do you do??
It’s understandable. With a world full of options, sometimes it feels like there’s too much to choose from, so how do you even pick? Or maybe you have some ideas, but don’t really know how to pursue them. Do not fret, you are not alone. Many teens, and plenty of adults as well, find it difficult to latch onto an activity of interest.
However, you shouldn’t wait any longer to make a change in this area of your life.
Having hobbies isn’t just important for your mental health and personal growth, but it’s an essential component of being a competitive college applicant. Not only do extracurricular activities boost your resume and show colleges that you have a rich intellectual life, but they also provide endless opportunities for you to learn about what truly motivates and inspires you. And that’s what colleges ultimately want - students who are inspired to make a meaningful impact.
So what is a hobby? According to various dictionaries, it’s “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation, pleasure, or enjoyment.” The key lies in the latter half of that explanation - it should be something you enjoy!
Let’s say you’re a member of your school’s National Honor Society, but you really just joined for the fancy grad-cap tassel and paper-based accolades. You find the meetings quite boring and the members quite stuffy. Sure, it technically counts as an extracurricular activity, but you don’t truly enjoy it. You don’t brim with anticipation when the monthly meeting date arrives. At least, not for much more than the free pizza.
Hobbies give you a sense of thrill, of excitement. They challenge you, but the challenge is worth it. They provide opportunities to be in a state of flow.
So how do you determine what will bring you those feelings of total immersement?
It’s no different than shopping for the perfect outfit. You know how sometimes you’ll try on a shirt and you just feel “meh” about it? It fits, the color looks nice on you, but you’re just not into it. You can’t really put into words why but it just feels off. But then you try on another shirt, and you look at yourself in the mirror, and you think to yourself “DAMN, I am one fine-looking dude (or dudette)!”
This is your mission. To try on as many shirts as it takes to get to that feeling of HECK. YES.
“Okay, but I don’t know where to even start shopping!” you ask.
No problemo! Here are some places to look:
Now, once you do find a hobby, it’s important to not just stop there. When it comes to being a competitive college applicant, it’s not just enough to pursue activities, but to deeply reflect on them as well.
When we work with our college admissions advising clients, we ask them to constantly reflect on eight key questions:
By thinking, or even better journaling, about these questions, you gain a deeper understanding into your own motivations and inclinations. With this increased knowledge of your inner desires, you can better chart your course in life to incorporate aspects of what you enjoy into what you are good at and what the world needs.
This clarity will help you to set realistic yet exciting goals for yourself. Your hobbies might even end up playing a large part in your career, or maybe turn into a lucrative side-gig!
Clarity also will help you with the college admissions process as it will help you target colleges that are the best fit for your personality, intellectual interests, and of course, activities you enjoy! If you’re outdoorsy, you’ll probably want a college near a large forest. If you’re into theatre, you’ll probably want a college in an artsy city. If you’re into sports, you’ll probably want a football team to cheer on!
And of course, having exciting hobbies will help you stand out among other students who simply spend their Saturday mornings scrolling away, waiting for life to happen to them, instead of making life happen for them.
So put down the phone, crawl out from the covers, and start throwing flour around the kitchen, balls around the yard, or ideas at your trusted friends until you find what sticks. Most importantly, though, stick with it until you feel your mind expand into new, uncharted territories, ready for you to conquer them, and ready for you to feel that perfect fit and say “HECK. YES. That’s what’s up.”
If you're looking for extracurricular ideas, contact us for strategic college admissions guidance.