Posted on August 17, 2020
I was hanging out with my friends Lukas and Chase after our second failed “let’s start a podcast” attempt. We had a problem: none of us knew what we wanted to do with our lives. We weren’t sure how to define purpose, success, and happiness in this stage of the 21st century. The future is uncertain, and we have legitimate feelings of ambiguity and anxiety about how it might turn out. We loved talking about these ideas with each other; it feels productive to talk rather than bottle them up inside.
Then, the lightbulbs went off in our heads: we could ask our professors (some of the most inspirational and learned people that we know) about the paths they took, the decisions they made, and how they define purpose, success, and happiness through the scope of their lives. We could ask them the questions that you wouldn’t ask them in class. Then, our peers could be inspired to think about these questions as well. In that moment, the What Am I Doing Here? Podcast was born. We would interview a professor, prominent community member, or anyone else who inspired us every week to figure out what they valued and why they did what they did. The results were fantastic. You can check out our episodes here.
What I Did
AUDIO EDITING: I use Logic Pro X to edit the raw audio of the podcast. This experience has taught me how horrible it is to listen to a recording of yourself. You don’t notice every “um” and “like” that you say in conversation. Having the chance to analyze my speech, as well as the speech of the intelligent guests that we have on the podcast, has vastly improved my everyday use of language.
GUEST OUTREACH: Cold emailing professors is intimidating. I learned how to craft emails that elicit a (positive) response. A well-written email sparks curiosity and inspires the will to act on the values of the podcast. I’ve also learned that there’s only so much you can do with an email. The most effective way to convince someone to come on the podcast was by speaking to them in person. Who knew.
What I Learned
PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION: When reaching out to a potential guest, it’s vitally important to use professional language. I have experience writing professional emails through my internship with ARMR and as the Chancellor of DSP, so I translated these skills to guest outreach. However, communication goes further than email. During the podcast recordings, I learned the importance of concision. Taking the thoughts in your head and translating them into a succinct question is difficult; it requires as much practice as possible.
LINKEDIN MARKETING: Lukas, Chase, and I each chose a different social network to represent the podcast on. I picked LinkedIn. I use different content types, such as video, audio, and photo, to engage with my followers. You can check out the LinkedIn page here.