Something I was worried about when I graduated is that it would be more difficult for me to continue picking up fresh skills and ideas, that I would mentally stagnate without the constant stimulation of the collegiate environment. Sure, I would be acquiring lots of new knowledge at my job, but mastering the intricacies of Google Docs and picking up some rudimentary HTML, while incredibly useful, wasn’t exactly the comprehensive challenge I had in mind.
Fortunately, I have come to realize that while I may spend less time reading scholarly essays and synthesizing sources for use in my own papers, learning doesn’t stop with graduation. It’s just a different sort of learning.
It’s true that I debate less now, but equally true that I create more. I have embraced my urge to make things that actually exist in the physical world. Maybe it’s a product of working so much on the computer, but when I’m home from work I avoid opening my laptop at all costs. Instead, I spend my time sitting cross-legged on our couch futon mattress tangled up in skeins of yarn or embroidery floss, huddled up under the blankets with a real paper book from the library (sometimes it’s even mildly intellectual!), or crouched over the coffee table writing an old-fashioned stationary letter.
Cross-stitch and knitting in particular have been wonderful hobbies for me to pick up because, like biking, they allow me to do something physical and to clear my mind and just think. It’s hard to find time spend with just yourself amidst all of the digital clutter!
Cross-stitching was a hobby I had enjoyed as a child but had abandoned in favor of hipper pastimes in middle school and never returned to. Until now. A recent Jezebel article reminded me that cross-stitch existed and demonstrated to me that there was creative potential beyond the clichés. So, over Thanksgiving break I pulled out the old box of cross-stitch supplies from my closet in Maine, threaded my needle, and brushed up my skills with a baby announcement pattern I found in the box. And voilà. Success.
Inspired, I thought back to another crafty pastime I had enjoyed but abandoned prematurely – knitting. Previously, the extent of my knitting ability was limited to straight scarves of one color and knobbly texture. Easy to make, but not something I tend to want in my closet. However, thanks to the encouragement and instruction of one Molly Moog and the incredible free patterns at the Purl Bee, I have advanced to a point where I can make projects I can be proud of (like the scarves being modeled by these lovely ladies in the subway).