David - Communication — 28 August 2013
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The Skill/Hobby Theory

I don’t know exactly what goes into creating an official, proven, published theory. Honestly, off the top of my head, I couldn’t name three popular theories right now if I wanted to. But that doesn’t stop me from attempting to think up my own from time to time. Make no mistake, I’m not creating new forms of math or science in this little head of mine—just taking note of the repeating occurrences and little tricks I come across in life. Not sure if that qualifies as a “theory,” but these little tricks sound a lot cooler with the word “theory” slapped at the end of their names, so I’m holding my ground on this one.

This being a college student blog, I thought it would be the perfect place to talk about my favorite theory, the Skill/Hobby Theory. I know, the name’s not great, but I’m open to suggestions. Regardless, the Skill/Hobby Theory is simple:

To find one’s perfect career, a job in which one feels they will never have to work a day in their life, all that person has to do is combine their greatest natural skills with something they love to do in their spare time.

That’s it. Even as I’m typing this I can picture you, a now puzzled reader, going back to skim that last paragraph, trying to see if maybe you missed something. But I warned you it was simple – and that’s the beauty of it. How much time, energy and tuition dollars do people waste in search of their perfect career? We all have that one unfortunate friend who hasn’t figured out what they want to be. The friend that has changed their major three times and still isn’t close to settling on one. Don’t be that friend. Yeah, the Skill/Hobby Theory may seem silly or overly simple, but I promise you it works…and I can prove it.

I mentioned it before in these blogs, and I’m about to mention it again: I love sports. Not in the same way other people love sports. For me it’s almost involuntary—like a crazy obsession/addiction combo rolled up into one (healthy) disease. In my mind, a perfect day is losing my voice in the nosebleeds as my favorite team mounts a late-game comeback. Seriously, there isn’t a better feeling in the world.

Why am I telling you this? Because I also happen to be a decent writer. Well, that’s what people tell me. I have this ridiculous, out-of-control love for sports, and I have a knack for writing. How does it not make sense for me to combine the two into a career? As a communication major, I’m going to doing SOME sort of writing after college. Why not devote that writing to something that makes me happy? Why not become a sports writer?

The Skill/Hobby Theory gave me the idea, but it wasn’t going to give me the job. That part fell on my shoulders.

So last spring I decided to start small and apply for the open sports editor slot at The Crimson, Florida Tech’s student-run newspaper. Being the only person who applied, I got the job. (Hey, a win’s a win in my book.) My first story was on Billy Mims, the men’s head basketball coach. Coach Mims had just won his 200th career game and was only a handful of wins away from becoming the winningest men’s basketball coach in Florida Tech history. Needless to say, I was nervous. Miraculously, the interview didn’t go horribly wrong and a lot of people said they actually liked the story.

By the end of the semester, I had a pile of stories in my portfolio covering everything from college football to the water polo club. I was steadily gaining experience and everything was going pretty well. So good, in fact, that I got an email from Florida Today wanting to know if I was up for covering a game for them. Next thing I know, I’m sitting at a local high school football game with a pen and notepad. I was getting PAID to watch a football game! Did you hear that? That was the sound of 12-year-old David Barkholz giving me a high five.

Yes, the skill/hobby theory may have a ridiculous name, but it actually worked for me. I’ve found a career that I’ll never get tired of—a career I’ll always wake up excited to go to in the morning. Maybe you’re not sure what you want to do in life yet. That’s fine. I’ve been in that position for a long time. But if the skill/hobby theory was able to help me out, who’s to say it can’t help you? Try it. You never know what might happen.

My story in Florida Today!

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  • Andy McIlwraith

    High five from your 12-year-old self. Classic!