Have you ever taken a look at yourself in the mirror and realized you need more hobbies?
My reflection dropped that lovely truth bomb on me a couple months ago and since then I have
been on a self-motivated and difficult journey of finding out what it is I actually like to do.
As a growing child you could often find me and my imagination running wild. I
remember when my mom first bought her MacBook laptop. It dropped into your arms at a hefty
6 lbs, but for me and my sister it was exactly what we needed to spice up our imaginary
classroom full of students in our garage. Drinking “coffee” (it was water) and making
Powerpoints to present to the brick wall was how I spent much of my childhood.
As an adult in my early 20s, finishing up my college degree, and fighting the effects of
burnout, it’s not as simple to walk outside and play with leaves or have an imaginary classroom
like when I was young. But, maybe finding a hobby could be the simplicity that I desperately needed.
Back in January and February of 2023 I was fighting myself and the world in one of the
hardest times of my life. My sister, a freshman in college, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on
our first week back to classes. Yes, I know it’s so sad. But I am a child of Generation Z who
spent 90% of my college career affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way. In other
words, I’m fantastic at turning bad situations into something I can laugh at. What I find more difficult to cope with is failure.
Around the same time, the initial “glow” of one of my friendships was starting to wear
off and I was coming to terms with the fact that I struggle very deeply with codependency and
anxious attachment. I needed to be around her all the time, if she didn’t text me back within 2 minutes she was mad at me. This was my line of thinking every day. Besides all my thoughts, I had
subconsciously adopted all of her interests. I was reading all the books she was reading, listening
to all the same music, watching similar movies, etc. I gave her no space and I didn’t let myself
have any space either. Throwing myself into everything she liked made me forget everything that
I liked. Whether it was going to therapy, talking to my best friend, the sun coming out after two
weeks of clouds, or just a change in my neurochemistry (thanks medication), I decided to do
something about this issue.
During a sporadic burst of motivation one day at my cashier job in the on-campus coffee
shop, I decided to open an Instagram account to promote my Spotify. A lot of things have come and gone during my 4 years of college. The one thing that didn’t? My obsession with creating Spotify playlists. So I thought ‘what better way to gain some traction with my playlists than to create an account and join the music community?’ So, me and my free version of Canva became best friends as I worked to come up with a profile picture and a first couple of posts. One of these was a spotlight on a pre-existing playlist called “TODAY” (it’s now called “current in carmel”). This was my way of introducing people
to my Spotify account and giving them something to look for if interested.
Starting this account, I had zero expectations. I followed a lot of people who were doing
similar things such as @playlistsbycampbell, @daybydaybreak, and my inspiration behind this
whole endeavor, @hahakcoolgtgbye. I was not expecting anyone to contact me, that’s for sure.
I was sitting in my local library at home on the Saturday before my sister was scheduled
to have her surgery to remove her thyroid, and I got a message out of nowhere from
@daybydaybreak. “Hey I was wondering if you were ever interested in writing?”
I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I had never heard of Daybreak Music before. Alas, I asked a few questions and said “that’s so cool I would love to do that!”
“Okay sweet! All I need you to do is send a writing submission” they said.
This was still too broad of an answer for me. As a product of the school system, I needed
to know deadlines and general requirements to even get started.
Being given the opportunity to write stress-free about music that I love gave me the
creativity and freedom to explore what kinds of music I liked. Now, every time I open Spotify I
find something new to listen to. Some newer artists that I’ve come to love in the last few months
include: beabadoobee, Hazel English, Hazlett, Ruel, and The 1975. Since I launched this account and began writing for Daybreak, I have found that music is what I have always loved. I never would have thought that it could turn into a journalistic opportunity.
Journalism is a tough field, like any other. For women, it presents different challenges.
Kristin Gilger, a professor of Journalism at Arizona State University reports in an
interview with USA Today that she thinks these challenges are two-fold: (1) Not having the support they need to maintain the vast demands of the field (i.e. when starting a family, flexible work hours, etc.) and (2) facing unequal work experiences compared to their male counterparts (i.e. sexual
harassment, the gender wage gap, being talked down to, etc.).
The number of women in a newsroom has grown in the last years and the scales are
starting to become more balanced. But, just because numbers are starting to even out doesn’t
mean the issues go away.
Journalistic communities like Daybreak, made for and run by women, are great spaces to
hone your writing skills while discussing topics of your choosing. Even though I only have one
published article so far, I learned so much while crafting that piece. It was fun, and it was one of
my favorite songs that I got to explore the ins and outs of.
The heart of journalism is language and creativity. That was really what I was looking for in a hobby. Something to express myself. Which at its core, is something really simple.
Anna Koenig (’24) and her sister at Universal Studios (Photo credit: Anna Koenig)