Law school is a time-consuming and often solitary experience. Although classes and study groups often give you time to interact with other students, you’ll spend a lot of time reading by yourself in the library, in your apartment, or outside. In the summer, you might take brief walks outside before every thirty or so pages or just take your books to the park, but it’s not so easy to feel refreshed with quick breaks in the winter. When the temperature is in the teens, taking a walk outside turns into an annoying chore. Apart from spending time with your fellow law students or the few non-law students you may be lucky enough to call friends, I recommend trying out a few different quick hobbies in your apartment to briefly take your mind off your reading and help maintain your sanity. The best hobbies are those that you enjoy and can periodically spend a few minutes on while you read.
If you drink beer, brewing your own beer is something you might consider trying in the winter. But make sure to ask your roommates first because your apartment may wind up temporarily smelling a little like a brewery. The first thing that you’ll want to do is get all the equipment. The initial purchase of the equipment can be pretty expensive, but think about it this way: you’ll probably be making five gallons of beer, which would also be expensive by itself. After the first batch, the cost of subsequent five-gallon batches is minimal. You’ll be paying pennies per beer.
Why do I recommend brewing beer? First, it’s not that difficult to brew a perfectly drinkable batch of beer, and you don’t have a lot of time in law school to learn complex techniques. Second, winter is an ideal time to brew. During the summer, it can be too hot for the fermenting process, but winter homes are usually kept in the high 60s and low 70s, which is perfect for beer. Third, after the initial brewing process, which takes about three hours, your beer just requires an occasional dose of hops or a check up to make sure it’s fermenting properly. This is something that you can do to take your mind off your reading.
Cooking or Baking
Cooking and baking are pretty similar to brewing beer in that they take a few hours to complete. You can choose a dish that suits the free time that you have. Some dishes are quicker than others, while some dishes take a long time, but don’t require constant attention. Cooking is also a good hobby because everybody needs to eat. Eating at home is healthier and less expensive than a diet of pizza and deli sandwiches.
Slow cookers and many meals that go in the oven can take several hours but only require periodic checks. They’re perfect for when you’re stuck in the house with a lot of reading and need something else to think about every so often. You can also fit a lot of food in am oven or a slow cooker, meaning that you’ll have plenty of leftovers that you can eat when you’re short on time.
Food that’s made on the stove usually needs more frequent attention, but usually cooks faster than slow-cooked or oven-baked items. Making something on the stove is good for a longer break.
Try out new recipes and new cooking techniques. YouTube can be a great source for both since you’ll find videos of chefs showing you each step in the cooking process. My favorite cooking channel is Madhura’s Recipe.
If you get into cooking, you might consider growing your own spices. Even if cooking isn’t your thing, you may want to grow more common indoor house plants. Most plants that you can grow indoors only require regular watering and/or turning, which are great activities for study breaks.
Building or Fixing Something
If you’re handy around the house, you may already be doing these things, but if not, then now is a great time to learn. Build a bookshelf for all of those oversized law books that you’ve acquired, assemble a new study table, or restore an old reading chair step-by-step. I’m working on the last one (currently on step 1: contemplate starting the project). Again, none of these activities are particularly difficult, and you’ll find plenty of help on Google and YouTube. If you really get stuck, visit one of your local maker spaces, which are increasingly common in urban areas throughout the country.
Finally, picking is a really easy hobby that doesn’t take too much time and yields a lot of really interesting foods. Plus you can pickle anything!
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And check out these helpful posts:
- Dressing Like a Lawyer on a Student’s Budget
- Fast, Healthy, and Cheap Eating in Law School
- The Secrets That 1L’s Need To Know
- Free Resources for Law Students
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