By Madison Fortin
At Playground City, we are constantly finding new ways to play while you learn or learn as you play. In our daily lives, we all find some sort of escape from the stress that comes from work or school. People watch television or read books to get swept up into a different world and experience life through someone else’s shoes for a short time. People go to the gym or play sports so they can take their aggressions out productively or better themselves physically. People join clubs so they can speak to people with similar mindsets and ideas so that they feel their sense of belonging. However it is that you spend your free time, I am going to show you how these hobbies can help you in your professional career through my own story of reinforcing my interests in art and creativity.
Like many young children in elementary school, I particularly enjoyed art class. We would get the chance to make something awesome like a painting, a shoddy clay bowl, draw one of our favorite cartoons or whatever it was with our own hands. This interest would later spread into my other classes where on the margins of assignments there would be some new character I had made up that day. In my free-time, I would make comics featuring my favorite characters I had seen on T.V. or on a cereal box. At home, if I wasn’t playing toys with my sister and cousin I was drawing in a composition book my parents gave me. As I got older, I started drawing my friends in head shots or adapted them for a comic that I would write on the back of my sketchbook that the school provided in 5th grade. All my friends soon became invested in what I was drawing and would eagerly await to see what would happen the next day at school. I had gone from a kid that was just doodling to a full-on storyteller in the eyes of my peers.
In middle school, the trend would continue and my day planner for class became the next medium my characters would inhabit. Where everyone else was writing down homework for the week, I was using the boxes as panels for robots, ninjas and bad guys with curly mustaches. Eventually, I found out about the art club that was hosted by the school's art teacher and would meet once a week. This was like heaven to me. There were a bunch of kids like me that were coming up with their own stuff, they all had vastly different art styles that we could admire or attempt to imitate, and the teacher would teach us new stuff that he wasn’t teaching the regular art classes. It was a great place to socialize but also a place where I could get real critique and places that I could improve on as opposed to your friend either saying it was awesome because they can only draw stick figures or they suck because it wasn’t as good as what was on Cartoon Network.
In high school and college, I was able to put my talents to use in my classes. The stories that I would write in my English classes would get high marks and was told how real the characters felt. In my art classes, my projects would actually have heart to them as opposed to my classmates who would mail it in for their graduation requirement. In science and history, I was able to design diagrams that helped draw people’s eye, as well as, help explain my overall point. Eventually, I would use my creativity to come up with characters to develop silly voices I could use to impress people or make them laugh. I had realized how much I liked to talk to people and all my creative ventures could be used to help make people smile. So from then on I focused my talents on doing that which I really liked doing. I began studying communication in college and looked for jobs where I could be creative and help make people smile. Now as an intern here, I help find new ideas to help people learn through play and help people enjoy their new skills that they are acquiring. I get to design cool graphics and flyers to help advertise our projects and spread our message in entertaining, sometimes funny ways.
Through my art I was able to express myself, create stronger friendships, build confidence in myself and now what was once just a hobby I am now able to consider as a skill in my repertoire that I use in the workplace to advance myself. I believe that by using something that I really enjoyed doing as an avenue to go down that I have been able to find success. For the people who are big into movie or books maybe you could try your hand at writing stories of your own. Perhaps you use the cinematography style you enjoy to create home movies or even transition into a videographer so that your vision is able to grow into someone else’s. They say those who read books have lived a thousand lives and this allows them to be more apathetic and understanding to others. For the athletes your craft teaches you to push yourself to be the best version of yourself, the value of leadership and camaraderie. Those that join clubs become great at communication skills, networking ability and build confidence in themselves.
It is widely said that when you do what you love you don’t work a day in your life and there is truth to that. By using your hobbies as skills in your everyday life, you take more interest in what you’re doing. Just like when you make learning more fun the material sticks with you after the initial learning. So my advice to you? Play every day!