One of the hardest questions I often encounter is “What are some of your hobbies?” When someone asks that question, my defaults are listening to music, watching Netflix or hanging out with friends — those are the hobbies that “normal people” have in my mind, and it’s easier when I don’t have to go into details.

In reality, my list of hobbies and interests is something that is quite difficult to capture in a few words. I love to play, watch and discuss sports. I love to garden and grow different plants. I love to bake and cook. I love to sew, embroider and crochet. I love to be outside and identify different plants and birds. I love to collage and experiment with graphic design. I love to make music, whether writing something of my own or working through something by another artist. I love reading and writing. I love networking, getting to know new people and deepening relationships I already have. 

The list goes on, and even putting down that much of a list made me fear I would lose readers. I don’t say all of that to brag, but rather to show that I’m often not just focused on a singular hobby at one time. Something that I’ve found is that there is even an ebb and flow with hobbies. When it’s cold outside I prefer crocheting and baking, but when it’s warm I can often be found doing something outside.

Dabbling is something that seems daunting when you begin. It can be hard to come up with new things to do, especially in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Something that I have begun to struggle with is my dabbling making me busier than I would like to be, but I once heard it said: “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” When I’m working with something I enjoy, I’m not really wasting time — I’m gaining new skills and insights. 

My favorite thing that happens from time to time is finding unexpected connections between hobbies, or even because of different hobbies. Writing for The Record was something that I decided to do on a whim as a first year — something I just planned to dabble in. Now, I’m a page editor, and not only that, I have been able to create different relationships because of collaborations and pieces I’ve written. There is often tons of overlap between hobbies; it just takes the creativity of drawing connections.

I write this piece as a call to dabble. It is something that has rounded me out as a person and in my relationships. It constantly keeps me on my toes and gives me a chance to learn more. When I try to find new things to do, I think of things that I already do and find a different facet to explore. It could be as simple as listening to new genres of music, joining an intramural team because of interest in watching a sport or even choosing a class to learn more about a topic of interest. 

College is a perfect time for dabbling. We have access to a variety of classes, clubs, ensembles, teams and everything in between all within arms reach. We have people on campus that are experts in things that we want to try, and we have the facilities to experiment! Even beyond college, dabbling is something that is necessary. As life moves on, dabbling helps one to cope with life’s many changes. You never have to be amazing at the things you dabble in, but in the end, you can at least say that you’ve tried something new.

Sarah Miller likes to make collages in her free time and hopes to inspire you to do the same.