Don’t Forget to Pack Your Bits of Happiness

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By Cathy Abidin, Class of 2012 and Student Ambassador for the School of Arts and Communication

Many of us, including myself, do not recognize the important things that should have come along with us on in our journeys in life. Some of the few things I packed for college were my books, pen, paper, and a calculator. Slowly, I submerged into the pages of my textbooks and disappeared into the time of the never ending assignments and unforgiving exams.  During my sophomore year of college, I realized I had become so consumed with meeting deadlines and coming in on time for exams that I found myself disintegrating into someone that I do not recognize as “me.” Before college, I enjoyed bicycle rides near the river, performing songs at local events, scrapbooking until the wee hours of the night, and making masks and vases out of clay.

Those were what I called my bits of happiness.

As my mum would say, “don’t forget to pack a clean pair of ….” I would say regardless where an individual go, whether it’s college, research, a new job, vacation, or even when visiting families, “don’t forget to pack your bits of happiness.” Spending a few minutes doing what I enjoy during a hectic or busy day helps me settle into a good mood.

Hobbies do not have to be expensive. If you love sports, join a team or find the time to play in local gym or local field. Run the neighborhood or the campus—it’s that simple. RunningZone in Melbourne holds 5Ks, marathons, and triathlons throughout the year and anyone (regardless of age or experience) can participate. If you enjoy art, such as painting, explore the local Art Festivals, volunteer at an Art gallery, or gather your old acrylics and watercolors and find your inner DaVinci or Rembrandt.

So they say you sing like Adele or you have the tendency to sing while in the shower: join the talent shows on campus and in the community. The Henegar Center in downtown Melbourne holds variety shows twice a year regardless of any age and talent. For a more reserved person that might prefer a  novel in hand while sipping a pina colada, visit the campus library, Barnes and Nobles, Amazon.com— you’ll be amazed at the selections of readings available.

For some, a hobby may be volunteering their time at a soup kitchen or the local elementary school. Organizations, such as the March of Dimes, the Red Cross, and local public schools, are always welcoming people who are interested in making a difference in their community.

Hobbies are not supposed to make our lives difficult but rather help us in our journey to not forget who we are as an individual. My hobbies are important to me: they shaped my creativity and helped explore my potential.

So when you’re in the middle of packing for college or a vacation, don’t forget to pack your bits of happiness—and if you do forget, it’s never too late to start remembering.

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