By Christina VanGinkel
How often have you thought to yourself that you should take a class on poetry, sign up for a workshop on some new photography technique, take a cooking course, or one on some other interest? But then, someone makes a comment that it would be a waste of your time, or they question you on what you think you might gain by signing up for such a course, so you decided to pass? These comments can come from co-workers, friends, relatives, even a spouse. First, do not let anyone influence you when it comes to something like this. Too often, it seems that when somebody does something a bit outside his or her normal routine, someone has a comment about it, and just as often, that comment is negative. The person making the comment may not even mean it the way it sounds, you are just doing something outside of your routine, and it surprises them. Sometimes the comments are as negative as they sound, and those are truly the ones you need to learn to disregard. For example, a few years ago, I mentioned to my mother-in-law that I was thinking of taking a computer class on PowerPoint. After asking me what the program was, she then asked me quite negatively; why in the world I would need to know something like that, as I worked from home. I ignored her, took the class, had a blast, and not long after, was able to help my son put together a presentation for a class he was in. Did I really need to take the class? Who knows when it might come in handy, but most importantly, I did enjoy it, and I learned a lot of confidence in maneuvering my way around a computer program that was outside of my knowledge, and that in turn lent itself to helping me teach myself the graphics program CorelDraw, which I do use for work.
Classes and workshops of just about any nature are actually a great way to find out if your interest in a subject is a real one, or just a passing fancy. I love classes and workshops for this very reason. You can usually sign up through local colleges, or even stores that cater to supplies for the very subject that is being taught, for a fee that will not leave your budget busted. Often, it is even cheaper to try something this way, over buying all of the supplies yourself.
Some friends of mine took a class on cake decorating. One person has gone on to buy quite a few supplies of her own, and has decorated quite a few cakes since the class for family and friends. The other friend said that while she enjoyed the class, she learned that she would much rather order her cakes from a store, leaving the decorating to someone else, finding it more work than fun. Before the class came along, she had purchased a book on cake decorating, and a starter kit, and was all set to order more supplies, sure that this was something she really wanted to do as often as it was called for. Once she was halfway through the six-week course, she was almost sure, that though she found it interesting, it was not a hobby she wanted to participate in beyond what she already had done. She liked her teacher, had fun in the class itself, learned a few things along the way, but in the end decided to leave cake decorating to somebody else. When I asked her if she would recommend the class to someone else (usually a defining point in whether it was a good class), she replied strongly that she would. It was a fun class, and she was quite happy that she had taken it herself. Plus, she said she had ended up finding out about a watercolor class that was being offered that was not listed on the schedule she had, and had signed up for that!
If you care considering a new hobby, or wondering if something is right for you, see if there is a class available on the subject. It can be both eye opening, informative, and fun, even if you decide against the hobby itself as something you want to do more of.