Welcome to our new section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus.) We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.
Before last October, I had little knowledge on what a podcast was. To me, podcasting was an unappealing, less exciting version of a YouTube video that middle aged adults consumed. I had never listened to a podcast up to that point, much less understood how impactful podcasts can be for both the creators and the audience. That all changed one day when my best friend Andre asked me out of the blue, “Christian, how does starting a podcast sound?” Without hesitation or a second thought, I agreed to join him.
In that moment the Real Talk University podcast was born.
In our two short months at college as first semester freshmen, Andre and I both noticed something astounding to us- college teaches students how to be really good employees. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, and our university is a terrific and esteemed school. But, we both agreed that students are not given the resources to discover opportunities outside of the classroom, and our podcast could fill that void admirably.
The basis of the podcast is to interview successful entrepreneurs and have them detail their successes and how they were able to discover their passions and make a career out of them. The concept seemed seamless on paper, but the execution was rough early on. The first handful of episodes were shaky as we both tried finding our voices on the mic and struggled with the technology and editing side of the process. Not to mention, trying to find a location fit for recording a podcast has been a challenge, and we ended up settling with Andre’s bedroom as our headquarters. (Thankfully, a new studio is in the works so stay tuned.)
Since its inception in mid-October, the podcast has become so much more than Andre or I could have ever imagined. While we had a clear cut idea, we had no clue which direction the podcast would take us or how successful it would be in a short period of time. Long story short, the experience thus far has been everything I could have asked for and then a ton more. Simply having the opportunity to sit down and learn from people I aspire to be like has been an unbelievable experience, and the guests we are hosting on the show never cease to amaze me with their stories and brilliant insights.
The podcast has also opened a number of doors for me in a very short amount of time. For example, being able to publish pieces on this amazing platform is a direct result of networking on behalf of the podcast. With only a few short months under my belt, I feel as though the sky is the limit for where this podcast can take me in my young life.
Reflecting back on my short journey with podcasting so far, I would love to go back in time and laugh at myself for being so naive about podcasting now that I understand just how powerful podcasts truly are. They have the power to enlighten listeners while being able to change the lives of those who choose to embark on the journey of creating and growing a podcast. I believe that while podcasts are already on the main stage of media today, they have tons of room for growth in our society and will have more influence as time goes on. They are easily accessible, free to download, can be listened to at any time, and have tremendous influence in a society that is constantly seeking advice and answers to their problems.
My advice to you is simple- no matter how small the idea or how little experience you may have, don’t hesitate to start a podcast, because the benefits are endless.
I’m sure as hell glad that I did.
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