This I Believe: Hobbies relieve stress

I believe in hobbies. I am writing this at a particularly stressful time. Finals are approaching and classes are struggling to wrap up before time runs out, and amid the chaos of countless assignments and essays I keep thinking to myself how nice it would be to sit down in my basement back home and build something.

Here there are no real opportunities for me to engage in my hobby of tinkering in my basement building useless junk, but when things get too hectic I think of what I could be building if I were there.

Hobbies provide an opportunity to sit back and focus on something other than the stress of the outside world. When I sit down to build something it does not matter what. I find myself completely immersed in that one thing, be it a rubber band Gatling gun that does not fire, a tennis ball trebuchet or an attempt at a ballista. The end product never quite lives up to the idea I have in my head going in to a project, but that does not matter to me.

What really matters is the process. While I am building the stress of the outside world melts away and the only concern is how to conquer the next problem that arises in the building process. In today’s world sometimes it is nice to take a mini vacation and focus on something really and truly enjoyable without worrying about what is due when or what needs to be done by which deadline.

When I am tinkering I have no concept of time. I let the project dictate when it is time to take a break or move on to something else. The project guides itself and I am left to follow its journey to completion. The process of building something and working with my hands provides me with an opportunity to escape from it all and replace the chaos of the outside world with the welcoming mess of my basement. I believe that hobbies are an invaluable escape, creating a sacred space in which troubles melt away. Engaging in a hobby provides a unique sort of relaxation that is a wonderful retreat from the stressors of the world.

Adam Burks is a freshman history major. He notes that his favorite thing about Mercyhurst is the beauty of the campus. Adam lives in Leicester, Massachusetts.