Wasn’t it fun to try things you weren’t really that good at when you were a kid?

Ever think about how when you are a kid you are encouraged to try all sorts of activities.  My kids have already tried soccer, pottery, basketball, painting, swimming, gymnastics, art class, ballet, singing, dancing and more.  Some are formal activities- they go places with experts and routine.  Others are informal- we set up an art studio in the kitchen and have pickup kickball games in the yard.  When you get to elementary school you get to take all sorts of classes and if you are lucky your teachers encourage you to explore and experiment.  Middle school is sort of the same, but with specialties and tracking.  By high school you are pretty much locked into a curriculum and track.  If you exhibit a talent for math, English, art, music or history you are chosen for special classes and your hobby or talent, in part defines you.  So you head to college and you are urged to select a major based in part on interest and part on skill.  Makes sense. Here is a caution with this path:   If you become too focused you can lose your sense of wonder and you lose your hobby.  For some it is life giving to study history, to manipulate data or to watch the life process unfold through a microscope.  All really important stuff.  As long as you still have hobby.

Wasn’t it fun to try things you weren’t really that good at when you were a kid?  Wasn’t it kind of cool to pretend to sink the winning shot in the NBA finals even though you know there is very little chance of that fantasy becoming reality.  When we are kids it’s not really about making fantasies come true.  Taking the shot is the fun part.  It is in itself the end goal.  So find a major, hone in on a skill and become expert, but keep your hobbies.  Set up an art studio in your dorm, consider yourself a novice photographer with W&M as your canvas, dance, write poems or make people laugh.

Categories: Academics, Faculty & Staff Blogs

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