Someone holding an upside down paintbrush and a ben, covered in colourful paint

What I learnt in the first two lockdowns

In the past year, many of us may have found that we have more time than ever before and not a lot we can do with it. When you aren’t always allowed to go anywhere, you need something to keep you occupied and there are only so many shows on Netflix to watch. Now more than ever is the best time to pick up a hobby and try something new!

When it comes to hobbies, I’ve tried everything from bullet journaling to rubix cubes to skateboarding and more. Something I’ve realized is that it isn’t necessarily what I’m doing that I enjoy, but simply the idea of learning something I didn’t know before. With that in mind, here are a few things I’ve learnt about learning:

Have fun

I think we can all agree life is more than a bit unusual at the moment. With everything that is going on, it is so important to find ways to relax. Make sure that whatever you decide to learn is going to be enjoyable and fun for you. With deadlines and assignments, most of us are pretty busy but it is important to give yourself time off regularly to do something fun and different.

‘All the gear but no idea’

Probably the most important thing I’ve realised is that you don’t need to spend a fortune buying everything the internet tells you to. Often when researching what you need for something you are interested in, you can be bombarded with long lists of expensive items that you may not need as a beginner. Start with the absolute basics, and figure out whether or not you like it first. If not, pick a new activity and try again!

That being said, if any safety gear is recommended you definitely want to get that. I learnt that the hard way, when I ended up in A&E the first time I got on my skateboard!

Ask for help

If you are unsure about where to begin, look for groups on social media sites. There are tons of groups for every type of pastime full of people who are eager to help and support beginners with any questions they have, or even just for inspiration on what to try first. Pinterest is also great for inspiration if you’re struggling to pick your first project.

Stick with it!

The hardest thing to accept about learning something new is that you probably won’t be good at it straight away. Just remember that, to start off with, neither is anybody else. These things take time and practice, remember to enjoy the journey and celebrate even the smallest of victories. You are trying something new and that is something to be proud of!

Here are a few ideas of some new (and student budget friendly) things to try:

  • Clay modelling: you can get 1kg of clay for less than £10 online
  • Gardening: seed packets and pots are cheap to buy from most garden centers and home living shops
  • Learn a language: Duo Lingo is a great free resource for a variety of languages and currently have ‘pay what you can’ offer starting at just £3 for anyone interested in a sign language course working at your own pace

Check out this page for more ideas!

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