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This is a somewhat weird topic since most of you are probably a lot older than me. I'm 20 and I'm a third-year student majoring in business.
I don't have a particular passion in any hobby as throughout my life my parents have been telling me what to do. For example, they would register me in swimming and lifeguarding lessons. They would force me to play instruments. I didn't develop any hobbies since I spent most of my time doing activities arranged by my parents and studying (like a nerd). I did play a lot of video games but I used them as a distraction as opposed to playing them for fun.
During my first few years at I college I did mostly the same thing but once I started living on campus, I'd almost lost control on gaming and got addicted (or obsessed for those who don't like the A word) with WoW and almost failed college. I'm now slowly recovering and have not played games for a while. However, I don't have any passions for anything (except getting a good career).
I'm interested in knowing what people are "suppose" to do for extracurriculars. I know that a lot of business professionals play golf. I came from an Asian family so I have no idea about Western traditions.
If an employer asks me about my hobbies, I feel ashamed to say that I used to play World of Warcraft. I want to find some hobbies that I can do for the rest of my life but are also respectable and healthy.
As an Asian-American too, I can definitely relate to your story on some level, with the strict parents as a youngster, going crazy in college, and not being sure who what do to outside of their direct orders.
After 10 years of meandering and subsequent life experience, my advice to you is to take some time to really examine yourself. Maybe get some outside help as well, like a therapist or life coach (I wish I had one a long time ago), to figure out who you are without the external pressure from the parents "to get a good career." Figure out what is a good career for you, not for their approval or bragging rights to their friends. And face your fears!!
On top of that, instead of thinking about which EC is "proper" you should just try them out!! Then figure out which one(s) you actually enjoy. When you find that activity, then you can motivate yourself to get a leadership position. That experience seems like a pre-requisite for employers. I don't think employers really care exactly what activity you did as long as you can show took some real responsibilities and worked well with your clubmates. Going for a charity club, like Habitat for Humanities, could be a good option. It was for me.
P.S. Congratulation on getting over your WoW addiction. I left my ex because of his.
Have you thought about something along the lines of graphic design or website design? You can offer your services to a charity organization or perhaps teach those skills to inner city kids?
If not, what sounds "cool" to you? I'm sure there are things you've heard of / seen and wished you knew how to do that too. For me, snowboarding and surfing sounded cool so I geared up and learned them.
You can then take those to the next level and get involved in some organized associations for your hobbies. You can volunteer for the organization, or put on a charity event, etc... Or you can take a more professional route by volunteering for a local chapter of a professional organization.
I can understand your predicament , How ever, let me tell you something - Fortunately Extra Curriculars are not like academics - to be forced Upon , a must and should things or things that would determine how much money you would earn !
And I strongly believe you should treat them more as passions , Interests, Cures to 'diseases' like boredom , Idle mind .
I know quite some people who Love Video Games , and there is nothing wrong with that , except that most Employers might see that more on the lines of An 'addiction' rather than a passion or a Hobby.
Next - As an ardent sports fan and Lover I would say , give yourself unto the sport you love and and spend some time and Enjoy IT. Trust me there is no better teacher than a sport - Victory , Achievement , Defeat , Despair, Motivation ,Praise , Criticism , Hero, Zero , Team work , Leadership and more - everything can be learnt from a sport.
Take Up any Interest - Drawing , Painting , Reading , Writting , Travel - but more than anything give them their due , Love them , and Enjoy them do NOT ever make the mistake of doing them because some BIG Co. would like that on your resume or some B-School would expect that from You.
There are enough things we would anyway compromise in Life , Let Your Interests be according to your liking.
A good career could be a passion , but let me say this - As one goes further into work life , one begins to desperately find other sources to 'relax' and refresh, and I have seen quite some fellow employees who do not have much of an 'outside' life , and that affects their work life too.Find something that you would Love to do anyday - Ask yourself and take time out to think.
And most Important - you would have to convey to Your folks at Home that they should let you take a few decisions when it comes to 1) Your Career 2) Your Future Goals.
Take your own decisions but take, after Consulting with them and letting them know that - Its the best thing for you.
But you would Have to put it in a very polite and reassuring manner.
In addition to all the responses, I'd like to say that try not to focus on what "ECs" you should be doing, but focus on doing ECs because you know you'll be enjoying it. There's too many things that you can do to show that you're dedicated to the society, so it'll be very hard to list items. As long as you're doing it from your heart, be proud of it then.
Here's also a little tip for you between now and b-school: step out of your comfort zone and learn something new.
Have you ever watched football? Go and learn the in's and out's of football. Have you ever ran a half marathon? Go train for it and do it once. Have you ever travelled to a complete different place with different culture outside of the states and Asia? Go travel for a quick bit and absorb the culture that others can offer. Have you ever visited a senior center? Go check out a local senior center and interact with the elders there. Have you ever played golf? Go to the nearest golf place (called driving range) and learn the game of golf. Have you ever learned a different language other than the one you were forced to learn in school? Get Rosetta Stone and learn a new language. Have you ever bungee-jumped? Go try it out!!
My point is that everyone enjoys being in his/her comfort zone. However, to make yourself more knowledgable, the only way to do so is to step out of that circle. Not only will you be testing your limit, but you'll also become a lot more well-rounded when you speak with others. The above are just examples that I thought of on the top of my head. Learning something new gives you a whole new perspective and you also get to communicate better with others who have tried it. Imagine how awkward it'd be if you knew nothing about football, but the discussion of football came about. Now, you can't be perfect and no one is, but by setting up different goals for yourself to achieve will only present you as a well-rounded person, full stop. _________________