College is the time for exploration. And what better way to discover who you are than by investing in some new hobbies? 

The good news is that there is a hobby that corresponds to every type of interest. Whether you’re looking for something that’s a bit more introverted and creative, like writing, or one like coding that will help prepare you for life beyond graduation, here are 15 fun hobbies to start in college: 

1. Pickleball

person playing pickleball
Photo by Joan Azeka on Unsplash

Pickleball is all the rage right now and for good reason: it’s fun, versatile, and a great way to bond with fellow college students.

This game combines different elements of ping-pong, tennis, and badminton. So if you have an interest in any of those sports/hobbies already, you’re likely to enjoy this one, as well. 

During a game of pickleball, you and your other player(s) will hit a plastic ball back and forth over a net. It can be played either indoors and outdoors, with another person or team, and is suitable for all ages and experience levels. 

Pickleball enthusiasts tend to get really into this game, so you’re likely to develop strong friendships with fellow avid players. Currently, it’s one of the most social sports out there! 

2. Photography

Do you find beauty in the world around you? If so, photography may be one of the best hobbies to start in college. 

Developing skills as a photographer opens up a lot of doors, both as a professional full-time photographer, freelancer, and content creator. As a photography hobbyist, you’ll learn several things. The first is that you’ll learn what kind of style of photography you enjoy, such as shooting landscapes, editing photos in black and white, or doing portraits. 

The second thing you’ll learn has to do with the cameras themselves. Do you prefer point-and-shoot cameras? DSLRs? Mirrorless? While you will likely spend a lot of money on these down the line, you may be able to rent out different styles of cameras while in college to get a feel for which one you prefer. 

3. Golf

Whereas pickleball tends to be a more physical, social activity, golf still allows you to develop strong bonds but in a much more relaxed environment. 

Though we tend to think of pro golfers as needing a lot of skill (which is true), taking up golf as a hobby shouldn’t be too intimidating because it’s likely a sport you’ve been playing since childhood. 

As a hobby, golf allows you to connect with other students who share your interests, strengthen your arms and legs, practice patience, and develop your communication skills. 

Spending time on the golf course comes in handy in the workforce, as many sales staff take clients or sponsors out for a game. So if you’re considering a business degree, taking up golf as a hobby now can earn you big points in your career later on. 

4. Tennis

Tennis is one of those sports that you don’t have to be great at to still reap all the benefits of. After all, you don’t have to be particularly good at any hobby to enjoy it and have a good time. That’s why it’s a hobby!

That being said, developing tennis as a hobby in college does wonders for your physical and mental health. And, depending on how you prefer to play, can be a great bonding experience with friends if you choose to play doubles. 

Playing tennis has many physical benefits, especially when it comes to improving your cardiovascular health. In terms of mental health, playing tennis a few times a week can help sharpen your thinking. 

Though still physical, tennis requires a lot of teamwork and strategy. If you’re playing doubles, for example, you’ll need to be able to communicate with your partner about who should lob the ball back to the other side of the court. Likewise, you need to predict where the ball is going to land. These all sharpen your critical thinking and communication skills, which will benefit you in your chosen career path after you graduate. 

5. Drawing

drawing of an eye
Photo bay DHANYA A V on Unsplash

Were you the kind of kid who doodled on your notebooks in high school? If so, why not expand on your interests now that you’re in college? 

Drawing as a hobby allows you to flex your creative muscles and much of that starts with identifying why you feel the need to draw what you do.

As briefly mentioned above, college is the time for getting to know oneself and understanding why you’re drawn to a certain style or subject can help you identify your personality. For example, drawing curved lines is often reflective of emotion, whereas heavy shadowing may highlight feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Drawing is an excellent way to express yourself, so what better time to do that than in college? 

6. Painting

Though drawing and painting share a lot of similarities in terms of expressing oneself, they utilize different methods, surfaces, and tools. 

Whereas painters often draw on their drawing strengths (pun intended), painters usually have more options in terms of colors, where they can paint, and what they can paint on. 

If you are interested in taking up painting as a hobby, you should test out as many different surfaces and paint types as you can to see what speaks to you. Acrylics and oil paints have different textures and can produce unique final results. 

In addition to developing technical skills, painting as a hobby gives you a safe space to explore your imagination and improve your mental health due to the release of dopamine. Painting is relaxing and best of all, subjective, so you don’t have to feel the pressure of creating something that’s considered to be “traditional.” 

7. Writing

Writing is a broad term that encompasses a ton of different styles and conventions, including but not limited to blogging, poetry, scriptwriting, and journaling

In general, writing has a lot of benefits. For example, writing as a hobby helps strengthen your communication skills, which will benefit you both now in your courses and as you enter the workforce. 

Likewise, writing is a great source for getting to know yourself better. Being honest with yourself is a lot easier when it’s just you and the piece of paper. 

With writing, you can do exactly what college is meant to do, which is to figure out who you are. Plus, it’s a major stress relief! 

Freelance writers are currently one of the most in-demand jobs and that number is expected to grow in the coming years. Developing this hobby now, for fun, can also set you up on a path to success in the future. 

8. Coding

Code on computer screen
Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

In terms of college hobbies that will set you up for success in the future, nothing beats coding. Coding is at the heart of how people communicate with computers, or should we say how computers engage with us?

Computer programming is needed for all sorts of programs, including websites, gaming apps, mobile phones, and artificial intelligence (AI). 

If you’re interested in taking up coding as a hobby, the best thing you can do is either take an extracurricular class that teaches it or watch online videos to see how other people code. 

You should also take great care to try different programs. Programming a gaming app is much different than coding a website, so try it all so you know what you’re genuinely passionate about. 

When it comes to coding, there’s no such thing as one program being more important than another. They’re all going to be in demand once you graduate!

9. Spike Ball 

15 Great Hobbies to Start in College 115 Great Hobbies to Start in College 2

Since college is the perfect time to try something new, there’s no better time than to give your hand at Spikeball

Spikeball is similar to volleyball. During the game, you and three other players will stand around a circular net and attempt to “spike” the ball back into the net once it bounces up. The first team to earn 21 points, wins! 

Like other sports, spike ball is incredibly social and is a great way to spend time outdoors and make new friends. Physically, this game can be a real workout and it helps develop your communication skills and eye-hand coordination, which could greatly benefit you in healthcare, construction, and other labor-intensive industries. 

10. Poker

poker cards
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Poker is a great hobby for those that like to challenge themselves mentally. Poker requires a lot of strategy and an assessment of risk, so it helps sharpen that part of your brain. In fact, playing poker has been found to reduce your risk of brain-related illness by as much as half. 

Those who take up poker as a hobby in college tend to find a close group of friends that share similar interests, as it’s common for poker players to get together once a week or month. These friendships have the potential to last as you venture into adulthood. 

Plus, there are options for playing poker, both online and in person, so you have versatility. 

11. Podcasting

Podcasting is one of the most popular hobbies to start in college, with approximately 50% of all students listening to a podcast regularly. 

Podcasting is attractive to college students because it doesn’t cost much to get started. While you can buy a microphone and some other quality equipment, nowadays, you can just create something on your smartphone and still attract an audience. 

Through podcasting as a hobby, you can expose yourself to different topics and fresh perspectives, which again, is what your college experience is all about. 

Plus, you can use it as an outlet to discuss topics that are important to you, whether it’s politics, culture, food, or even your favorite video game. There’s so much versatility out there and like art, there’s an audience for every genre. 

12. Video Editing

In today’s multimedia age, content creation is one of the leading skills companies are looking for, so if you have an interest in video editing, now’s the time to get started. 

Video editing is the process of cutting the film together so that it not only looks good but sounds good, too. 

While developing your skills through this hobby, you’ll simultanously be learning about how to avoid jump cuts, set proper pacing, and basic storytelling, as well as all the technical stuff, like which video editing software are best for beginners. 

New video editing hobbyist swear by Lightworks, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro X. 

13. Dance

Dancing offers many physical and mental health benefits, including but not limited to increasing flexibility, improving balance and coordination, strengthening your muscles, and promoting relaxation. 

Like writing and painting, there are many different styles of dance you can expose yourself to in college such as hip-hop, ballet, ballroom, and jazz. 

In addition to dance being relaxing and an easy way to get in tune with your body, it also helps expose you to different cultures. Belly dancing, for example, hails from the Middle East, while Samba comes from Brazil, and Flamenco comes from Spain. 

Exposure to different cultures through dance helps you bridge a connection if you ever travel abroad. 

14. Cooking

Some hobbies you develop in college are designed to set you up for work life beyond graduation. However, some are designed to take up a much broader role in your day-to-day, like cooking! 

Sure, you can turn cooking into a career if you’re passionate about it. Chefs and cooking-related jobs are expected to grow by 15% over the next decade. But despite what millennial culture has taught younger generations, hobbies don’t always have to be turned into a side hustle. Some hobbies can be just for fun, and that’s why cooking makes this list. 

Developing your skills as a cook gives you greater confidence in the kitchen, while also being a major source of stress relief. Cooking is often recommended for those living with anxiety and depression, as it gives people a sense of accomplishment, as well as those living with OCD, because of how methodical the steps can be. 

Cooking is a form of art and it allows you to get creative with combining different flavors and experimenting with new methods. 

15. Gardening

plants in a row
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Like cooking, gardening can be a hobby you develop in college either for personal or professional use. 

Gardening offers the same kind of therapeutic relief that cooking does, as it allows you to focus on the task at hand instead of what may be bothering you. Plus, gardening allows you to cultivate something and watch it grow, which elicits feelings of accomplishment. 

While at school, take advantage of available gardening classes, a community garden, or buy your own gardening kits, like an AeroGarden. These gardens don’t take up much space and they can help you grow all sorts of herbs like parsley, rosemary, and basil. You can even grow mini cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, bok choy, and lavender! 

With gardening a hobby, you can learn about the size of plants, hydroponics, growth speeds, and so much more.

The Right Hobby Can Improve Your Time in College, As Well As Beyond Graduation

These are just some of the top hobbies to start in college that will not only be enjoyable and beneficial now, but well into your future, both in the workplace and out. 

Whether used as a creative outlet or a way to develop your skills that will aid in your chosen career path, having hobbies are essential to keeping your physical and mental health in good shape. 

Remember, college is all about discovering who you are, as well as your interests. The more you try now, the more well-rounded you’ll be moving forward. 

You don’t have to be good at anything to start. All you have to do is pick up the pen, find a flower you want to cultivate, and put your fingers to the keys. 


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