Surprise! Engineers do have free time. I know when I was thinking about majoring in engineering I was worried that I would spend all my time doing math problems. While I definitely spend a lot of time doing integrals, I do have time during the week to relax and do other things I’m interested in, and even have gained some new hobbies this semester!
After walking to all my classes for a month (and being late to a lot of meetings), I thought it would be useful to invest in a skateboard. I have never ridden a skateboard before, and there’s always lots of people around campus, so I’ve been practicing before I actually start skating to classes. I try to ride briefly everyday, even though I don’t always. One of my goals is to get comfortable on my board.I have even tried to turn learning how to skateboard into a social activity! Almost every Friday I practice skateboarding with a small group in a parking lot across the street from my dorm. I’ve enjoyed getting to practice and learn with other people and it’s very fun, laid-back and supportive. I also sometimes invite my friends to watch and encourage me.
Guitar has been another hobby I have picked up recently. Although I started learning guitar before the school year, I was unsure if I was going to have time to continue practicing during the busy semester. One of my regrets coming out of high school was not taking the time to be more creative. When I decided to attend USC, I knew I wanted to take the opportunity to get more involved in creative experiences. Unfortunately for my roommates, I’ve been taking time to practice every week even though I am not part of a guitar class.
Additionally, sometimes I spontaneously decide to attend events hosted by the University or my residential housing community. Some fun ones have been movie night, karaoke, an open-mic night or a scavenger hunt.
In my experience, having free time really starts with knowing your schedule and what has to be done. That way, I am able to plan ahead. Learning new skills is always a journey, and it’s fun to try things without a grade attached to it. Even though it is definitely hard during some weeks to find free time, I always feel better after taking some time to myself to have fun.