Jeanne shares the necessity of pursuing a non-academic passion and how it enriches her studies, work, and mental health.
Written by: Jeanne Polochansky, Digital Content Writer, Psychology Specialist
Sometimes as a student, I’m tempted to get caught up in ‘checking the boxes’ of things to do – going to class, building a resume, making friends, getting involved…the list goes on. For me, it is important for my mental well-being to find a space where I can mix my passions, studies, and career. I’m grateful to have found this space in my role as Digital Content Writer at the Innovation Hub. Amidst academia’s rigid deadlines and rigorous schedules, I find balance and pursue my strengths and non-academic interests in creative writing for self-growth and stress relief in my work.
Hobbies for Homework
Creative interests are just as productive as their academic counterparts: for me, they hone my transferable skills and improve my comprehension. Writing and editing of all kinds helps me communicate my experiences and thoughts in their truest form. The benefit of nurturing my strengths at the Innovation Hub is because here, we delve deeper into how to make collaboration between individuals efficient and produce a common goal. Particularly, I learned about empathetic interviewing, which is like the scientific study protocol that I follow in my lab, and I was able to reflect on what I could improve as a team member at the iHub, a student at the U of T, and a writer in general.
Passions Uplift the Work
Writing at the iHub allows me to create meaningful messages that synthesize my passion for creative writing and my studies in psychology. I feel fulfilled by my work because I get to reach lots of new people every day and learn fascinating perspectives on familiar material. During our Orientation Meeting I discovered that there are many ways to tell a story, as this experience is different from my usual creative writing, scientific papers, or book reviewing. Naturally, with novelty comes difficulty, and I have many challenges with blog writing too, like structuring digital content. When I first started out a month ago, I had difficulty conceptualizing my broad audience and using accessible language, but now, while my writing style is still a work in progress, I’ve learned to stay positive knowing I’m not the only one striving toward self-improvement. I finally see the interconnection in Innovation Hub projects and the significance of my role in making it happen: I feel heard and relied upon.
Feeling Cared For
Life after lockdown has underscored for me the importance of being together and having a presence in spaces. In my work at the Innovation Hub I have the opportunity to come to work in our beautiful bright space each day alongside my peers and feel the energy of the room as we interact together, sharing ideas and uplifting one another. During a recent co-working session with the Communications Team, we were brainstorming how to improve the visual and text accessibility of the blog’s home page. I loved how everyone came together and brought their unique ideas into this process. The energy of being present together is something that is difficult to replicate in an online world. I see this same energy in between classes while I’m chatting with classmates in the hallways before and after lecture. Being together with people, really being present, has helped me have more optimism and a greater sense of overall wellbeing.
Discover Your Motivation
So, what do you do to take care of your mental wellness? Take a chance at this question, whatever that may look like – join one of the Student Life clubs, start an initiative, or try new hobbies at home. Find an interest for your own sake because there will be days it might be the only thing motivating you to get back up and keep moving forward.