Soon you'll be packing up your clothes and laptop and a bunch of other things and heading off to college. You're likely excited and nervous and a hundred other emotions — did we mention nervous? — but don't worry, because it's going to be great (that's some of Mom's positive thinking for you).
One of the best ways to combat nerves during big times of change is to adopt a new hobby. Tons of research projects indicate that hobbies enhance our overall well-being, decrease symptoms of anxiety, and improve social connections.
As you take on this huge life transition from high school to college, consider taking up one of the following six hobbies. You’ll find that doing so helps you handle the change and gives you a powerful outlet for all of those thoughts, worries, fears, and feelings of excitement.
1. Listen to Music
Mimicking the natural rhythms of nature, the beat of the human heart, and the repetitive pattern of breathing, music undeniably has one of the most calming effects on humans outside of a mother's arms. Used for over a millennium, lullabies along with mother's soothing hums have carried more babies off to sleep than any other practice in humanity.
A recent study by the University of Nevada at Reno suggests that music of a slow tempo can not only relax the mind but also produce measurably increased elasticity throughout the body including muscles and tendons.
In other words, listening to music is a fantastic hobby to get you through life’s big hurdles (like switching from high school to college). Whether it’s jamming out to your favorite band when you’re stressed or testing out Chopin’s calming effects, we highly recommend spending a little more time with your earbuds in.
2. Take a Hike
Few things compare to the sunshine on your face, a cool breeze in your hair, and the smell of pines while hanging your feet in a mountain stream. How many of us actually allow ourselves to replenish our inner souls by absorbing the life-giving essence of nature?
Much research is indicating that children (and teens) are spending less time outdoors than in generations prior. Unfortunately, that has some serious potential consequences – especially when it comes to our mental health and anxiety levels.
Even if only for a weekend, the ripple of a lake, the fading rays of light against distant mountains, and the sounds of cool wind rustling through the pines, nature offers an unmatched lure of peace and tranquility. When you start to feel overwhelmed by the craziness of the high school to college transition, take a break and get moving outside.
3. Go Fishing
We know, it sounds crazy, but fishing is an awesome hobby for anyone to adopt before moving from high school to college. Research has indicated that fishing can be a critical part of self-care when combatting stress, anxiety, and feelings of loss – which many students have as they transition from high school to college.
Satisfied with the simple task of observing a bobber floating on water, the mind is able to rid itself of all other concerns and is perhaps the reason people will sit all day long, lazily gazing across a blank canvas of water. Not only is fishing beneficial to the conservation of the mind, but it's also easy on the wallet.
When fishing, be sure to keep all required documents with you. Mandatory permits and state licenses may include state-specific boating requirements and other regional qualifications.
4. Start Journaling
Journaling (whether by hand or digitally) is an excellent way to manage your emotions during the high school to college transition. Sometimes, getting words down on paper is the best way to make sense of the complicated thoughts and feelings swirling inside our heads.
If you’ve never journaled before, consider starting with a simple goal: write one sentence a day, documenting a concern you have, something you’re grateful for, or a good thing that happened. If you can stick to one sentence a day, try progressing to a paragraph or more.
Not only is journaling good for you at the moment, but it’s also fun to look back on in the future. Someday, you’ll read what you recorded during the transition from high school to college and reminiscence.
5. Get Cookin’ in the Kitchen
Learning how to cook is one of the best things you can do before transitioning from high school to college. You’re about to live away from home, perhaps for the first time, so why not learn to make a few great meals? Plus, cooking is a great way to decompress and think about something other than your current worries.
Ever been comfortable in the kitchen? Consider checking out The “I Don’t Know How to Cook” Book, which features 300 great starter recipes that you can’t mess up. You’ll familiarize yourself with some basic cooking techniques, and chances are, you’ll find that you aren’t so bad at fending for yourself after moving from high school to college.
6. Explore Your Artistic Side
Science has long established a positive connection between art and mental health. Whether you’re drawing, painting, sculpting, or coloring, getting creative is a great way to relax your body and mind.
Don’t consider yourself an artist? It’s never too late to start, even during the high school to college transition. The Artists Network has a range of resources for discovering your passion for art. They will help you find inspiration and play with different art techniques and styles to find what interests you.
Worried About Moving From High School to College?
It’s totally normal to feel apprehensive about the high school to college transition, but there are also ways to handle these concerns. If you’re feeling lots of anxiety about your college career, reach out to our college guidance counselors. We’re ready to listen to your problems.
Our full range of services helps young adults:
- Understand what major or program they want to focus on
- Communicate with college admissions counselors
- Stay on schedule for applications/move in
- Combat any challenges with moving from high school to college
Call 844-438-1600 to learn more, or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help make your high school to college transition as smooth as possible.