School Work/Life Weighs You Down? Make It Lighter With a Hobby!
take a step back and reflect, find that one thing that grounds you
By Kevin Kock, University of Houston
It seems that living life, especially in college; the tiny important things are placed on the backburner. Instead of thinking of rest and relaxation, thoughts constantly look for the next task that must be done, studying for the next test, the time between now and that next essay that somehow in a blink of an eye is due tomorrow morning, and this list continues on and on until more is added until finally it seems to be too much. Stop. Take a breath. Try a craft. Try a hobby.
As of late, this crushing feeling is upon me and the weight feels to be more than is necessary. But then one day, after lunch, I decided to go on a spur of the moment walk to think and ground myself (an event I notice is more recurring after this first experience). During this walk, I thought about what was truly important to me and what made me happy. Right away my mind started listing off items and things I could do or wanted to do. After a couple things were listed, I instantly thought of photography. When was the last time I picked up my camera?
Photography, to me, is this great moment in which I can spend as little or as much time as I need/want to create something beautiful, draw attention to something beautiful, but more importantly to make my hectic life more beautiful and peaceful. It has the effect, like most hobbies and creative endeavors, to allow a sense of ease into everyday mundane life.
As this walk continued, I thought of concepts that I would love to see come to life. But what really came to life was my creativity as my whole mentality shifted from what can I do to pass class into what can I do to ground myself. Oddly enough, in order to help myself I had to look outside of the thoughts in my head and passed the tips of my fingers. After I did this, I truly saw all the beauty that surrounds me on my campus and daily life. What shocked me the most was what I was missing out on.
A squirrel on campus. We have so many and I tended to ignore them. But now I am realizing that they are these friendly animals that want to be fed.
As this campus opened up to me it came to life. I saw the squirrels, the birds, the trees, and even looked at the people conversing. I quickly rushed back to get my camera. Camera in hand, I finally felt like a tourist walking around with no obligation, rather than a full-time honors student.
Soon after, I let my creative mind go to work as I looked for new ways to focus on myself. It even gave me an excuse to invite my friends to enjoy a quick relaxer or creative get-together. As these events became more frequent, I noticed that I felt much more at ease in my class setting. Because I had plans to relax later on, I noticed that I would work more efficiently and finishing my assignments from the get-go.
But not every event was planned, just like my walk that was spur of the moment, some of my favorite events were thought of on the spot. For example, one night I was not in the mood to continue my class work and started procrastinating (like most people do, especially when the work is on the computer and it is so much more enjoyable to watch a YouTube a video than read some Greek tragedy). Instead, I called a friend and said, “We are doing a photoshoot, now!”). It was night time and this was a perfect excuse to practice a new technique I learned. What amazed me the most, that night, was some of my favorite pictures that I have taken. Just by using my campus and a dash of creativity, a whole new style of my photography emerged.
This is a picture of my friend Giona Vodo. I played around with a light statue on campus and the contrast of light versus dark. It is one of my favorites from the night.
So as life seemed to be more hectic, the best thing, at least to me, is to take a step back and reflect. Find that one (or many) thing(s) that grounds you, that gives you something to look forward to and balance it into your life. To some, photography may not seem to be the greatest idea. But who knows, you may like it or not, and try something else. If you endeavor goes wrong or not as planned you can still have fun doing what you did. Just laugh in your attempt and move on to the next thing. Who knows you may find that one thing that makes you tick, that one thing that centers you, or have a brief moment where you can explore yourself and distract from all the stress that school provides.
You can find more of my work here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinkockphotography/