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Why does my employer care about my hobbies?, was my reaction after doing a CV workshop offered by the university. Apparently, it’s quite common in the Netherlands. In fact, it might be negative if you don’t. Because, as I was explained, employers want to know that you are someone, that you have your edges, a profile, that you are an actual human and not a workaholic machine. It is a nice way of thinking about your future employees. However, I felt oddly caught off guard. Because… what if you do not really have a hobby currently?  

During that workshop I thought of all the things I used to love doing. In high school, I was quite busy. Playing in a theatre ensemble, taekwondo, drawing, painting, reading a ton – all stopped after graduating. And I am not alone with that. So many of my friends practiced musical instruments or played sports weekly, if not daily during high school. They all stopped after entering uni. Finally, some months into the first semester of university everyone does the same. Studying, working out (in the gym), cook and drink with friends, party, end. Undergrad’s weekly assignments seem to be enough to fill our time and drain our energy.
What happened? Did we get old? Are our drained energy levels remembering us of our unavoidable mortality? Given that my peers and I are in our twenties, that’s unlikely. Frankly, uni is not that demanding. I spent more time inside school than I am now working for university. It is more the believe that university should be all-encompassing. Leading to guilt when signing up for something that could potentially become a new hobby because I could study this one and a half hour instead. Except, I know I wouldn’t. I would lay down, living the potato lifestyle. And you would too.
Being aware of this, I filled my shelves with art supplies and made it a habit to go everywhere with a 3kg book again, while trying all those weird-sounding yoga options Berlin has to offer. My conscious effort to make time for hobbies to feel like someone, with edges, a profile, human and not a workaholic machine.

Asena Baykal, alumna European Studies



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