Tag Archives: experience

Discovering Your Career

It can take years of adult life before an individual realizes what they’re really good at. Years! Since I’ll be applying to graduate programs in a number of months, I’m inclined to speed up that process.

I’ve found that passionate interest can be very hard to tell from practical talent, and when pursuing a career, talent (more than passion) is what counts. Passion is a prerequisite to talent, and acts as the necessary motivation to devote time and effort toward an activity. However, the presence of passion doesn’t necessarily indicate the presence of skill.

Take for instance my three years of competition in speech and debate. What got me started in the league was my passionate interest in oral interpretation, a form of storytelling and acting. I also experimented with debate out of curiousity. As the years went by, my interps never ranked very highly (though I loved performing them). Debating, however, was another story—I consistently ranked higher as my skill level rose. Despite my own bias towards interp, dispassionate panels of judges helped me realize where my strongest talent existed.

The ingredients of speedy self-discovery seem to be experience, second opinions, and (to a lesser degree) contemplation. When all these components come together, it’s hard to ignore the boundaries separating talent from pure passion.

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Lessons from a Podcast

In new media class this spring, I wrote and recorded two podcasts. The first podcast was about a subject I’m incredibly passionate about—homeschooling—and the second was about a more casual, fun topic—the sounds animals make at night.

Overall, my second podcast was reviewed as better than the first. This rating may have been related to my integration of sound effects and audio editing, or my imitation of David Attenborough when describing animals, or just the usual improvements that come with a second try. But I think something much deeper is at play.

It’s hard to discuss subjects that one feels extremely strongly about. Usually, I’m quite a reasonable person, but when it comes to homeschooling (which I love) and public school (which I hate, perhaps more than I should) it’s easy to make me bristle. These deep-seated opinions grew from personal experience, so they’ll be very hard to uproot. In fact, I don’t want to change. And until I accept that there may be other legitimate views in the world, it’ll be hard for me to discuss this subject in any reasonable manner.

On occasion, I’ve attempted to write about methods of schooling, but often find myself overcome in a flood of emotion. I never dared bring up the topic in college, surrounded by folks who grew up in public schools . . . until one day in new media class. I took a leap forward and decided to make a podcast about homeschooling.

The podcast came out all right, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a strained undercurrent is still there. Luckily for me, my professor was supportive of homeschooling in general, yet much more balanced in her views. She helped me temper the podcast.

I think this is one of the only ways to begin to curb extreme bias. To first get to know other real live human beings, and then later, once you’ve gained respect for the person in general, be surprised to realize that they have different opinions than you.

Overall, my lesson from a podcast is this: some things can’t be written about, can’t be talked about, can hardly be thought about unless you’ve tempered your emotion towards the subject. Passion is a wonderful thing in writing and podcasts, but when you have so much of it that you can’t even imagine what it’s like to be someone else—that’s when you hit a roadblock and a disconnect with the reader. That’s when it’s time to make a podcast about animal noises instead of lifestyles.

Podcast: 5 Noisy Nighttime Animals You Should Know