Can Students Incorporate Their Hobbies into A Degree?

Throughout this research project I will be exploring the lasting effects that leisure activities have on individuals and how it effects student experience. I will investigate how hobbies build interests, confidence and life skills. This research is relevant, as it may encourage students to incorporate their hobbies into their current degree.

Hobbies are particularly carried out in ones leisure time. There are many examples ranging from sports, art, reading, travelling etc. For example, my hobby is bodyboarding. It’s somehow taken over my life and directed many of my choices. I have noticed that within Communication and Media and a Digital and Social Media major, I have been able develop career path ideas. Each involving bodyboarding in some form. Whether it’s creating a brand, writing for bodyboarding magazines, collaborating with companies etc.  You can read more about how I have incorporated bodyboarding into my degree here.


My research may also assist individuals who are unsure of what career paths they want to take and feel as though they may be studying the wrong degree. I hope that the information I provide can assist other students to link their interests and hobbies to their studies and future careers.

I feel that this research is achievable as there are numerous studies on the impacts and benefits that hobbies have when merging with a career. I will also be able to contact students via twitter and in class to explore their experiences when choosing a degree. I will also ask a range of questions which explore their interests, chosen major and their ideal career. My research will therefore suit the available time frame and allow me to build sufficient information for a final report.

Sciences are fairly fact based and therefore I found Emily Sohn’s article, How to Turn Your Interests Into a Career very interesting. Sohn demonstrates that even scientists have incorporated their interests into their own careers. A common theme within each scientist’s advice, is that “persistence and patience are key”.

An example within this article of moulding personal interests into a career, is of Vanesa Espana-Romero. Sohn investigated Espana-Remero’s experience and passion for rock climbing and how she managed to link it to her work as an exercise physiologist. It’s clear rock-climbing involves exercise, so ofcourse someone could turn that into a career, right? Well, it’s not always that easy according to Espana-Romero. The issue for Espana-Romero was the lack of funding and interest from colleagues and supervisors. However, she remained passionate and began to think about the long-term outcome. She eventually became widely successful and could apply her knowledge to her passion. This is relevant to my research as it may inspire students that struggle to combine there outside interests to their studies.

Vanesa España-Romero. Credit: Jason Schneider

Another example, is Indre Viskontas who was torn between pursuing music and completing a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.

“I feel like I’m a bridge between these worlds. And we are entering an era where that overlap is more celebrated.” – Viskontas

As she was tossing up her options, she felt that neuroscience was a much more stable career. However she could not let go of music. Through persistence, Viskontas combined her love for music and her PhD, by applying neuroscience to musical training.  This was accomplished as she applied her neuroscience knowledge, to the way musicians practice. Viskontas developed new musical strategies that challenged the brain in a unique way. The strategies were able to help musicians to learn at an incredibly faster rate than usual.

“I could hack my practice time with neuroscience.” – Viskontas

Did you ever consider it possible to combine mountains and psychology? Well, neither did Kate Baecher as she spent years studying performance psychology and went mountaineering on her time off.  Sohn found that Baecher directed her studies towards “risk, fear and survival among mountain athletes on expeditions.” Baecher also felt torn between the two, however, Sohn reported that it only made sense that Baecher combined her expertise with her hobby.

 Kate Baecher: Clinical psychologist and mountaineer.       Credit: Chris Ensoll

Following Passionate Interests to Well-Being, is another article which further supports my research. Bryan J. Dik and Jo-Ida C. Hansen (2008), explored the way that interests are formed and develop over time. They further base their research on John Holland’s (1959, 1997) theory, which “proposed that most people select careers that are congruent with their interests”.

Dik and Hansen (2008) found that the traditional theories of career choice have changed and that individuals are focusing on their well-being. Nowadays, it’s come about that people are “less invested in their careers than is typically assumed by vocational psychologists”. This lead Dik and Hansen (2008) to understand that connections are being made between interests and self-efficacy, meaning that hobbies build related goals which can then lead to career paths. The article further discusses how an individuals “broader sense of life purpose”, matters more than the actual work itself. This continues to support my research as other students may uncover their purpose and apply it to a career path.

A reoccurring theme amongst these sources is that individuals initially struggle to combine their hobbies and career. I have faith that my research may encourage other students to merge their passion and degree. Both sources have shown that each case of doing so, has brought forward new opportunities, success and a greater well-being.

–Sophie Jayne


Dik, B. and Hansen, J. (2008). Following Passionate Interests to Well-Being. Journal of Career Assessment, 16(1), pp.86-100.

Sohn, E. (2019). UOW Library resource access. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Mar. 2019].




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: