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Your time at university will likely be full of new experiences and opportunities to discover new things about yourself. Apart from educational responsibilities, this time should be spent discovering your independence and passions in a fresh, new environment.

What you may be surprised to find is that the activities you embrace in these four formative years may very well carry on to impact future aspects of your life—your professional career included. In fact, the vast majority of S&P CEOs developed their passionate interests in college, and still recognize them as a significant part of their identities today. Interested in turning your hobby into a marketable asset? Read on for a closer look at the surprising ways your university pastime can contribute to future success. 

School-Life Balance

As a student in university, the quest for balance can feel like an everyday struggle. Between educational responsibilities, extracurriculars and relationships, it’s not uncommon to overlook time for yourself. Skipping out on me-time however, can have significant negative effects on your mental health and overall mindset. To combat the stress and avoid burn-out, carving out an hour of your day to partake in a preferred pastime can help make you a more well-rounded person, a better student and, in turn, a more successful career professional in the future.

Having a hobby is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle and can also contribute to the development of other positive life qualities. Even just the process of learning something new can teach humility, which can positively assist you later in life. The empathy and patience you develop as a beginner to anything new can help you better-relate to a new employee in need of mentorship later in your professional career. These qualities can make you both a better colleague and a better manager.

Depending on your particular interests, there are numerous pastimes that can positively impact your professional growth. For example:


Playing sports at university is no small feat. The commitment, energy and time management that goes into both a successful education and sports career requires extreme self-discipline. The team coordination, strategic thinking and leadership skills developed through athletics all translate seamlessly into the business world. Sales positions, in particular, are generally a safe bet for athletes, as athletes tend to be aggressive in achieving sales goals.

Several of today’s most successful business leaders contribute much of their successful traits to their athletic hobbies. CEOs like Mark Hurd of Oracle, a college tennis player, and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, a college rugby player, transitioned the lessons they learned through college sports into their professional careers. For example, in an interview with The Brown Daily Herald, Moynihan spoke on rugby’s impact on his leadership style, stating, “the lessons of leadership do transfer — how to motivate people, how to try to get people to do more than a team can do apart.”


Creativity and art therapy have long been recognized for their benefits, particularly in the mental health department. A creative pastime can serve as both a stress reliever and a mind-engager. Photography, for instance, encourages both emotional wellness and improved mindfulness. And, with the innovation of smartphones, you no longer need fancy equipment or special training to produce high-quality work and enjoy the creative process. Crafting is another great option for disconnecting from everyday stressors and focusing on a task that both relaxes and pleases you. Former Dentsply Sirona CEO Mark Thierer for example, finds his creative release through sticker collecting and crafting elaborate cards.

Qualities developed through creative hobbies can also help you better-manage stressful career situations. Learning to be more present in a moment, creative thinking, perseverance and mindfulness all contribute to a positive mentality in the workplace. 

Clubs and Organizations 

Group activities such as special interest clubs and student-body organizations are great for enhancing your social life as well as group collaboration skills. Depending on your specific interests or goals, University’s house numerous different types of organizations and clubs designed to cater to individuals’ specific interests—social, cinema, multicultural, business, editorial and more. Your level of participation within these organizations is entirely up to you, your comfort level and what you hope to achieve from your involvement. For instance, a position on a committee or a governing position, may be recommended for those interested in learning leadership and people management skills, while those more interested in developing networking abilities may be happy as simply just an active member.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a University pastime. The goal is simply to find one you enjoy. From there, with dedication and personal investment, you too can carry on the benefits of your University pastimes to professional success.

Simon Clark is a Tech and Business writer. 

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