College can be a whirlwind of stress and anxiety, especially due to the intense nerves that sneak up during finals season. Most students can agree that it is difficult to strike a harmonious balance between acing exams and maintaining your sanity. In the mix of the madness, it is easy for students to lose touch with the interests and creative outlets that bring them joy. An old quote reads, “Find three hobbies you love: One to make you money, one to keep you in shape and one to be creative.” However, if you’re a busy college student, you may not have time to do all three; but having one that keeps you creative may be the most effective option — especially with final exams looming.
As the school year comes to a close, so does the impending dread of final exams. According to a study conducted by The American College Health Association, “45% of American college students claimed to undergo ‘more than average stress,’ while 33% of students reported ‘average stress’ and 12.7% saying it is ‘tremendous stress.’ Students who reported ‘no stress’ or ‘less than average stress’ combined for 9% total.”
Compounding this, a survey conducted by MentalHelp in 2016 found, “89 percent of college students were stressed at least two to four times per semester, and 30 percent said they were stressed for almost the entire semester. Thirty-one percent of students surveyed said that finals were the biggest source of their stress.” It’s safe to say the pressure is on for college students preparing to finish off a tumultuous year by acing their final exams. To combat stress, promote more innovative thinking and maybe make some extra money, look no further than your own imagination and carve out some time for creativity.
Can Build a Side-Hustle
While having creative outlets is primarily beneficial for mental well-being, it can also put a few extra dollars in your wallet. Though side-hustles can take a fair amount of elbow grease, committing to a project can be very motivating for students who feel uninspired by their work or academics. Committing to a side hustle that revolves around your major could be a great move for students looking to begin treading the waters of their future career field.
An article written by Sarah Barnes of HerCampus explains the benefits of finding a side-hustle that correlates to your major. Barnes writes, “Launching a side hustle based on your studies and interests is way more rewarding than a typical part-time job. In fact, your side hustle might give you experience that will land you a job right after graduation, or even grow into a full-time career on its own.”
How Creative Outlets Aid in Stress Relief
Matthew Zawadski, a health psychologist at the University of California Merced, conducted a study titled, “Real-Time Associations Between Engaging in Leisure and Daily Health and Well-Being.” In this thorough study, Zawadaski evaluated participants’ personal reports of mood, cortisol levels and heart rates to determine if engaging in leisure had any correlations with overall better well-being.
At the end of the study he concluded, “Multilevel models revealed that participants had more positive and less negative mood, more interest, less stress, and lower heart rate when engaging in leisure than when not. Results suggest multiple mechanisms explaining leisure’s effectiveness, which can inform leisure-based interventions to improve health and well-being.” Being that students do not always have the time to devote to health and wellness pursuits, adopting a creative hobby may be an easy way to reduce stress and boost overall wellness.
Creative Outlets Improve Overall Performance
Which makes it all the more important to take a break from overworking the study-centered right side of the brain and spend time using the left side to encourage creativity and fulfillment. Working on a creative hobby is beneficial in a multitude of ways as it builds knowledge, boosts confidence and enriches life by giving you something to look forward to after a long day of work. As you challenge your skills, you develop confidence in both yourself and your new abilities. This translates into overall improved academic performance as it brings forth a sense of accomplishment and enrichment that you may have been lacking due to stress.
Creative Outlets Are Perfect for a Busy College Student
Between late-night exam cramming sessions, to long hours at work, most students usually have sporadic downtime to dedicate to a hobby. In these fleeting moments of peace, you can easily incorporate one of the following hobbies into your schedule.
Journaling is an extremely cathartic, creative hobby that is easy to fit into any schedule. Whether it’s long entries recounting the day’s events, to just a few sentences on how you’re feeling, journaling instills a sense of release. Regardless of the quality and quantity of writing, journaling is a great way for students to unwind and release stress in a healthy way.
Picking up Adobe program skills is also a productive, fun way to destress. As some universities have accepted partnerships with Adobe Creative Cloud, the platform is slowly becoming more accessible to college students. Even if your university is not partnered, Adobe also offers a generous discount on the Creative Cloud program for university students. Developing proficiency in Adobe programs is extremely beneficial as it poses a fun, creative challenge and will look great on any resumé.
Looking to re-energize through music but don’t have access to instruments? Look no further than the internet. Chances are you’re reading this on a laptop or desktop, which means you have access to a variety of digital audio workspaces that won’t break the bank. Free digital audio workspaces like Garageband, Audacity and ProTools are all highly-praised tools that are compatible with a variety of devices and are the way to go for music-loving creative minds.
Despite the stress-inducing, all-consuming nature of final exams, it is important for college students to take time to recharge and revitalize. Developing a creative skill builds and fosters a more well-rounded mindset that makes tackling college’s challenges a little easier. Regardless of the mounting pressures of exams, students should take time to care for and maintain their mental well-being through practicing a creative hobby