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Learning from our Hobbies

Let’s talk about hobbies. The things we do for enjoyment often require a lot of discipline and are an important part of the well-rounded Nerd Girl.

Take dance, for example. This article “What Scientists Can Learn From Ballet,” by scientist-ballerina Sylvie Leotin, describes the similarity in aspiration, dedication , and process that exists between those two disciplines. She points out how the beautiful “physicality and geometry of dance… have parallels in the physical interactions that occur in every science, from astronomy and physics, to chemistry and biology.”

This is a time in which universities are embracing interdisciplinary studies because they have recognized that having multiple passions gives people unique approaches to their work. In my film school interview the question they asked most eagerly was about how being a dancer influenced my style. When you watch dance, you see movement. When you dance, you experience depth, air, and energy, things that people might otherwise take for granted. I have learned to attribute my passion for 3D technology to my dancer’s appreciation for depth.

It isn’t so important WHAT your hobby is as it is HOW you do it, because Nerd Girls pour themselves into the things they enjoy doing. Some examples:

Got a green thumb? Gardening is a nurturing activity, and that meticulous care you spend out in the sunshine will carry over into your other pursuits. Projects aren’t going to do themselves! They need TLC too.

Sports? The layman’s term is being “on your game,” which is just a casual way of describing the crazy attention required for making all kinds of calculations of environmental factors in addition to what’s going on in your body. Being able to make quick, smart decisions is a powerful leadership skill in any career.

The musically inclined Nerd Girls probably already know that music itself is highly mathematical, but the practice of music also helps accustom you to look for patterns, a component of problem solving. Plus, all that music practice helps you get used to repetition, and let’s not forget that reproducibility is one of the key aspects of scientific experimentation.

One of our Nerd Girls, Natasha, described how the hands-on nature of arts & crafts was one of the things that led her into engineering. That interest in being able to see what she creates still leads her to “break out my Martha Stewart once in a while.”

There is a seemingly endless supply of extracurricular activities to explore this topic with… Tell us how your hobbies cross over into the curricular sphere!

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