As a kid, I never had that one defining passion. I focused primarily on art and writing, while also being heavily involved in different school sports. I went wild with dance, soccer, basketball, softball and skiing. As I got older, I started to shift my focus to rowing, cross-country and snowboarding.
Unfortunately, when it came time for college applications, I quickly realized that you can’t just major in a sport–unless you’re a D1 athlete going pro (and fun fact: I’m not a D1 athlete). So, I was left to choose between two of my other favorite activities: writing and art. Despite art being a major stress-reliever for me, I struggled to see how I could turn it into a profession, so I set that passion aside.
Writing it was. I chose to attend the University of Maryland Phillip Merrill College of Journalism as a double major in broadcast journalism and criminology, with intentions of attending law school in the future.
It wasn’t until I started college that I realized I wasn’t comfortable entirely giving up my love for sports and art just to put all of my focus into journalism. I wanted to maintain my other hobbies even while earning a degree for something completely unrelated.
Within the first week of school, I joined the Maryland Men’s Crew Team as a coxswain. While many of my friends thought I was crazy for joining an organization that meets five days a week at 5:30 a.m., I saw this more as an opportunity. At least the club wouldn’t conflict with any of my classes or assignments, right?
My decision to join the crew team was one of the best ones I’ve made since arriving on campus. Not only was I able to continue on with a sport that I had been so heavily involved in throughout high school, but I was lucky enough to join a novice team full of amazing people with whom I have become extremely close.
As I transitioned into my first semester of college as a coxswain and double major, my schedule was pretty busy, but not so full that it was out of control. I still had time to go out with friends and take many needed naps. As the end of my first semester drew nearer, I thought about some of my other passions I’d let slip away from me since coming to college. Art was a major one.
Over break, I had plenty of time to relax and get back into it. I pulled out my pastels and acrylic paints and got to work. Sure, I had lost some of the essential skills that I’d been taught over my many years of art classes, but it was still the same stress-relieving fun activity that I had always known and loved. Since returning to college for second semester, I’ve left behind my easel and canvases, but what I do still have are my cell-phone, printer paper and pencils. During my free time, I’ve started sketching again to try to remember some of the skills I have forgotten.
Passions are the fundamental puzzle pieces that portray the full image of who we are as human beings. It would be a huge mistake to simply give up hobbies that I’ve always loved simply because I’m now at college. The best way to do this is to sit back, reflect on what really matters, prioritize and then slowly ease your way into a schedule that encompasses everything you hope to achieve. Sure, we’re expected to be adults now and plan for the future, but at the same time our passions are what define us. With a little bit of time management, it’s not unrealistic to maintain your passions while pursuing a career completely unrelated to them.