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  • UF Chi Omega

Throwing the Stress Away

If there is one lesson I have learned the meaning of from my college experience, it's that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Throughout my life, structured activities like sports teams and high school clubs, coupled with a daily routine, compelled me to get out of bed and into motion at least five days a week. When I got to college, I quickly discovered that if I did not have class or even if it was a rainy day, I'd remain in bed, leading to a backlog of assignments or studying. This cycle left me stressed and exhausted.

By the middle of my freshman year, I had taken up going to the gym. Getting my heart rate up made me more awake and more productive. However, the truth was, I did not like working out. While I felt great afterward, I was not happy to be there. I learned that it was less about the workout and more about stepping out for a purpose—doing something voluntarily, doing something for me. For many, the gym serves this purpose, but it wasn't the right fit for me.

Throughout my life, I have been led by creativity, exploring everything from sewing my own clothes to baking bread and even pasta from scratch. My artistic side was sidelined during my freshman year of college as I navigated an engineering major’s lifestyle. Then, right before sophomore year, I decided to reconnect with an old passion of mine, pottery. 

I joined a studio at UF, not knowing anyone. I had to relearn everything that used to be second nature, and I struggled to find time to go. Now I go almost every day, and I have more pieces than I could ever imagine. I have made plates, bowls, lemon juicers, pitchers, spoon rests, taco holders, and everything else I have saved to my Pinterest board. I have made friends of all ages and backgrounds at the studio. I have even been lucky enough to share this happy place with my sisters. I taught my big, Aileen, to throw on the wheel, and we made matching heart bowls. I got to become closer with a friend, Belen, as we talked while we painted pieces.

Dedicating an hour a day to this hobby on top of a rigorous course load once seemed impossible. Now I know not only that it is possible, but that it is also beneficial. It is not only the finished products and friendships that serve a purpose. This time spent doing something I love allowed me to decompress and use my brain in ways that are not used in my stem classes. I have found that my productivity is much higher than before I joined. I found that having a hobby, especially one that physically and mentally engages your body and mind, has unimaginable benefits. 

If I could tell my freshman self anything, it would be, ‘Find something you love that engulfs your mind, even if it's only for 30 minutes a day,’.

With love and a touch of clay,

Hallie Bardani, MC ‘23

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