College x

The ultimate guide for trading in that trusted handle of Jack Daniels for RA-friendly activities.

College: The debt-accruing form of higher education where young adults gather to learn about themselves, the world and the other sexes. It’s a time to find a degree that will hopefully get you a job and to learn how high your tolerance is for substances. I’m kidding. Mostly.

Your time at a university is definitely the opportunity to experiment, don’t get me wrong, but you don’t want your four years to be entirely beer pong and DIY bong crafting. In fact, that’s the best way to ensure you don’t spend four years at a university, because the resident cops—Resident Assistants—are there to make sure the foolish decisions you’re sure to make aren’t stupid enough to get you killed. So getting along with your RA is imperative to gliding through college without any major mishaps.

That being said, sneaking liquor onto campus isn’t exactly the best way to go about hitting it off with your RA, and your roommates will not appreciate if you take up smoking weed. But if you aren’t abusing substances in your bathroom, then how on earth are you going to spend your designated non-homework time? What was the point of your carefully crafted color-coded bulletin board of semi-legal activities if you can’t even take a shot in your common room at 4am?

Fear not, friends, because there are plenty of other hobbies to pick over your first four years of adulthood.  And not all of them will do damage to your liver.

1. Cross Stitching

For those of you who don’t know what cross stitching is, it’s kind of like sewing, except instead of making a quilt or fixing a rip in your jeans, you get to stitch together a picture or phrase of your choosing. There’s particular fabric needed for this activity, so it isn’t really a DIY, but if you’re willing to drop a few dollars on embroidery floss, aida and a hoop, it’s generally an inexpensive hobby.

The most popular designs available online are prayers and grandma and grandkid sayings (What Happens at Grandma’s House, Stays at Grandma’s House!), but that’s only if you’re not willing to look harder. There are all sorts of designs available as topics like superheroes, supernatural creatures, world monuments and even insults or dirty jokes.

The Top Five PG-Rated Dorm Hobbies
Photo of cross-stitch pattern

Once you get good enough, you can even design your own patterns; the best new creative way to impress your friends by embroidering your most creative dick joke onto a gift-able surface. And the only potential damage involved is pricking your finger on the needle.

Bonus side note: The things you make can totally be given as gifts, so if you start practicing now you might be able to give your roommate a lovely cross stitched “Walking Dead” poster for Christmas.

2. Plant Parenting

This hobby can go horrendously wrong if you are, like me, a disaster with things that take constant nourishment. But, if you’re stubborn, like me, you can keep trying until something grows big enough to stick around for a few months. Then you can rub it in your roommate’s face that you can totally keep something alive for a short period of time.

For the truly adventurous, you can start out with seeds and grow your own flowers or tomatoes or whatever from just a pot full of dirt. I find that to be a bit easier because once the plant blooms, you’ve already had enough partial success to keep you marveling at your own life-giving abilities beyond the inevitable death of your plant.

The Top Five PG-Rated Dorm Hobbies
Photo via HGTV

For those of you who want less of the parental responsibility, just pick up an already grown plant. Your job will then be to water it every so often and stick it in a sunny window before you go to class. If this plant dies, you’ll feel less heartbroken, because while it grew on you, you didn’t raise it from seed-hood and become inevitably and painfully attached.

3. Literally Anything Involving the Sky

Go outside and stare at the sky, nerd. If it’s daytime, look for birds and planes and UFOs and any other kind of weird shit that flies by. Get a little sunburned and freckly. Find shapes in the clouds, pretend they’re sending you a secret message, wait for rain and then sit in it until you’re soaked.

If it’s nighttime, count the stars and find constellations that you can give silly names to. Learn about space and find the real names for your favorite star patterns. Look at the moon and fully appreciate how beautiful she is. The moon is the reason we have tides and stable seasons; she deserves a lot more than we’re giving her. Ungrateful humans.

Don’t spend all day every day cooped up with your computer. This section definitely sounds like some sort of conspiracy theorist’s attempt at getting the youths to go outside and look for strange signs in nature, but breathing air that isn’t tainted by your roommate’s burnt popcorn can be good sometimes.

Side note: This hobby is completely free and might lead you to meeting new people, who can introduce you to hobbies that don’t include staring at the sun.

4. Baking

You don’t need weed to bake, kids. And this is a fantastic way to perfect a life skill that will be very handy in the future, when you are responsible for regularly feeding yourself. Make mistakes and master this skill now so you can lessen your chance of burning down your future apartment.

This hobby is relatively easy to pick up. Pick an easy recipe, buy supplies from the nearest grocery store, find the nearest oven on campus, slap that shit in a bowl and then eat the entire cake that comes out by yourself. You earned it.

You are the god of whatever baked goods come from your clever hands so you get to decide its fate, and if that means eating it all on your own, that’s your call. And I commend you for it. Or, you could use your new baking skills for good and woo that cutie in Biology with homemade cupcakes.

Side note: They’re also good for bribing your RA to look the other way about your unsanctioned air conditioning unit.

5. Work Out

I haven’t gotten this desperate for a non-school related activity yet, but I also live twenty minutes from the beach, so I have plenty of other options before I add working out to my list of things to do. Those of you that aren’t lucky enough to reside by the coast might get tired of birdwatching or may need to work off all the cakes you just baked and then subsequently consumed.

Regardless of what you decide to spend your extra time doing, just make sure you’re having a good time. College is supposed to be fun, so take a break from the books and try out one or two of these dorm friendly hobbies. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Just make sure you clean it all up before room checks.

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