Sunday, April 5, 2020

How Students Spend their Leisure Time

Everyone have their own likes and preferences when it comes to leisure time activities. However, there are many leisure activities that do not have age limits. Such an activity as reading is applicable for anyone, young and old, and this is one of the best and most beneficial leisure activity for students.

I spend my leisure time mostly reading, but I also crochet, and I love going out for walks, especially in the woods. My grandfather used to spend his mornings reading the newspaper, and he loved nature, so he spent plenty of time outdoors, walking. He passed away almost a year ago, in March, and up to a month before he passed he still kept up those two activities. My grandmother, on the other hand, loved to spend time indoors, and she spent plenty of that time crocheting. In fact, she’s the one who taught me to crochet, when I was six.

A friend of mine from high school loves knitting, whereas her grandmother has been a yoga instructor for decades. Another friend’s grandfather learned to ski over ten years ago, when he was 65, and still goes skiing every year.

I think there are a lot of hobbies and leisure time activities that have no age limit; let’s take reading as an example. There are books for young adults, books for adults, children’s books, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, you name it. I know older people that spend their afternoons reading, and if I think back as far as age six, I’ve done the same whenever I get the chance. So I don’t know if I would answer a definite yes, but there are many young people and old people that do spend their leisure time in the same way.

Leisure time can be either good or bad, depending on how effectively the time is utilized. Leisure time can be an ideal time for developing skills, stress reduction and many other positive developments that one can gain from the leisure time activities they take on. At the same time, leisure time can be detrimental to development, if used in an irresponsible way. Students need to be keen on the way they spend their leisure time to avoid the downside effects.

On one hand, positive use of leisure is linked to identity development, increased coping skills, stress reduction, activity innovation, increased physical activity, socialization, academic and community engagement, well-being and health.

On the other hand, there is a flip side to leisure. Free time can be used negatively. Negative use of free time is coupled with eating disorders, stress, limited coping skills, physical inactivity, social isolation, aggression and violence, academic and community disengagement and excess alcohol consumption and other substance abuse.

Empowering students with the knowledge that during their free time they can take personal and positive control of their lives is, therefore, of critical importance.

It is time for Penn State and the broader community to step beyond simply providing recreation programming, encouraging volunteering, fostering collegiate sports and promoting club membership.

We need to help students understand why it is beneficial to engage in positive leisure pursuits and how to put their values toward positive use of free time into action.

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