Feed Your Soul, Feed Your Pocket


Kathryn Hudnell

Illustration By Paige Gaskins

In my head, there are two halves of my life. One is my work and school half, and the other is my social and creative half. At times, they happily exist separately or even overlap in perfect harmony. Other times, however, one gets too greedy, and once the halfway mark is passed, I begin to notice the effects in real life.

         Typically, I try to keep this balance in check by prioritizing my hobbies. In the current culture of having side hustles and needing monetary gain to see value in something, it is no wonder that hobbies just for fun have fallen to the wayside. They are often thankless and criticized by other people. They wonder why someone would dump money into a project that, in their eyes, has no real purpose. There is a purpose; it just isn’t always visible.

         My current hobbies include embroidery, hiking and baking. All of these are completely different from each other and what my schoolwork includes. I found that this mix is the most beneficial for me, because I’m able to improve each part of myself. With embroidery comes patience. Hiking is peace of mind. Baking gives me a chance to use science. All of these are passions I use to fill my soul while my passion for writing will, one day, fill my pocket. No one is one dimensional despite what the media may portray. Just focusing on one passion isn’t enough to keep anyone happy for an entire lifetime. 

A widely spread misconception about hobbies is that they are all expensive. I’m the first to admit that, on the surface, most are. If there is something in particular that piques your interest, don’t let the price tags be what turns you away. It may take a little creative thinking, but most hobbies can be done on a budget. Finding supplies on Amazon may not be an Instagramable moment but what is important is just being able to start. Start keeping track of sales at places like JoAnn Fabrics and Michaels as well as their coupons. Only buying a little at a time can be tedious, however, it will be worth it. 

Even if buying supplies isn’t able to fit into your budget right now, begin with research. Try to answer these questions: 

Is there any special equipment required? 

What brands of products do other people recommend? 

What are common mistakes? How can you avoid them? 

What are a few resources (websites, books, etc.) that can help you with any future problems?

YouTube is filled with creators who post videos explaining every step of their creative process. Connecting with an online community can also help give you tips and tricks. A new group of people, local or not, can open doors you didn’t even know were closed. Typically, these groups form spaces that are supportive, positive places to be. It is a great contrast to a large chunk of the internet. 

For me, my hobbies improve my headspace, so I can be more productive in my professional life. They help me to avoid burnout at any stressful time during the semester. Then, during summer break, they keep me concentrated on reaching new goals. It is important to remember that while hobbies should push you, they are also meant to be fun first. It should be an activity that pushes you to better yourself but not stress you out. 

Whatever positive sources you find enjoyment in will always be worth investing your time into, even if it seems like a waste to others. If you are just beginning, have already started or mastered the hobby, all experiences are valid. Work to learn from and teach others to contribute to a positive community. Safe spaces for learning are always best. Happy creating!