College can be a stressful time for all students. With tests, assignments, term papers, and so many other elements of the academic life it can be difficult to find a way to decompress.

It is always a good idea for students to have some sort of hobby or extra activity to refocus and recharge. Students need to concentrate on their studies, but they should also have some sort of escape to keep them from burning out.

Everybody releases stress in their own ways. Some people may like to burn a few calories by running, while others may like to hit the gym, or even a punching bag with some boxing gloves. The options are unlimited, and they don’t always have to be extremely physical.

Alyssa Garcia is a freshman majoring in Human Health and Performance. Her favorite hobby to help her relieve stress is painting plastic miniature figures. She got into the hobby about a year ago, when her boyfriend brought some small figures over to her house and they started painting them together.

“It helps me destress because it’s the type of hobby that needs your undivided attention for hours at a time.” Garcia said. “It’s nice to have that distraction when things get a bit overwhelming.”

She gets a sensation of accomplishment when she completes one of her works of art.

“When you finish one and it ends up looking nice it definitely feels good. Like a sense of pride,” Garcia said.

Another freshman that uses art as a release is Amaya Caudel, who is majoring in Mathematics. She specifically likes filling pages up with patterns in pen.

“I like to make them as small and intricate as possible, as I enjoy the process of making the lines,” Caudel said. “I enjoy the process of making the lines. I’ve been making pattern sheets for about three years, and I’ll probably keep doing it until my hands give out on me.”

Another fascinating fact about Caudel’s artwork, is that it helps with her autism.

“I’m autistic, so moving my hands in certain ways is very calming and therapeutic for me.” Caudel said. “In making art like this, I’m really just smashing two birds with one stone.”

Not only does it help Caudel, but it gives her a sense of accomplishment.

“It’s like stimming, except I get a neat piece out of it in the end.”

Patricia Schmidt, who is a senior, majoring in Geography, has a different approach for her stress relief. She has the unusual hobby of genealogy. It is something that she has been doing for over 19 years.

The way Schmidt describes it, it would almost seem like a school project.

“There is always a lot of research that needs to be done to get through the brick walls.”

It is an escape for her though.

“It helps me relax because it is like a giant puzzle that needs to be put together,” Schmidt said.

She has found out some interesting things about her own family history with her hobby.

“My European family lines led to Charlemagne and back to my 71 or 72 times great grandfather Julius Caesar who was also a great uncle because of the inner family marriages back in those Roman days,” Schmidt said.

She started this hobby when her twin daughters were two, so that they could have their family histories. It would appear that Schmidt has developed quite the knack from this hobby, for learning a family heritage for people who really want to know.

Whether it’s physical, mental, or somewhere in between, it can be helpful to have some sort of escape from reality to get us back on track.