Texas Tech · Thoughts from Tutors

Achieving More Than “One Thing”

By Elizabeth Hansen – Master Tutor

As a child, I always dreaded being asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I had many things I wanted to do, but I never felt like I could answer with all of them. I dreamed of being a singer and a dancer and a writer and a director and a golfer and owning a pet hotel all throughout my childhood.

With that being said, you don’t have to have a thousand different jobs to be able to grow as a multitalented person. What you need is an ability to make time for things outside of the grind towards your “one” goal.

I believe this mentality of being interested in many different things applies to smaller ventures as well as careers and passions. In college, it’s easy to feel tied to accomplishing one feat. You are completely focused on graduating, passing a class, getting a job. But college is an opportunity unlike any other to experience more than just one thing.

At the TECHniques Center, we often talk about setting goals with our students. Not only should you set goals, but you should talk about tangible ways to achieve them. Often, these are purely academic in nature. The conversation goes something like this:

“What do you want accomplish this semester?”

“I would like to make a B in History.”

“Okay, how will you accomplish this goal?”

“I will study and go to class.”

“How will you study?”

This goes on until you have a defined goal with specific ways of achieving it. But what I want you to do next time you’re interacting with students or even thinking about your own goals, is to challenge yourself to do more than just think about the academics.

“What do you want to do with your life” doesn’t have to be only career specific. Think about your passions, think about your interests, and consider creating an outline for how to also make those a reality in your life. You do not want to completely forget who you are in the process of attaining one academic goal. It is important to explore all facets of your life- academic, professional, social, extracurricular- in order to discover the many things you can accomplish in a lifetime.

If you’ve ever struggled with figuring out the “one thing” you’re supposed to do, here is a great Ted Talk about not having one true calling: “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling” by Emilie Wapnick. I found this Ted Talk when a fellow college student shared it on her Facebook timeline. As someone who triple majored in college, she identified with the “multipotentialite” idea. Emilie Wapnick defines a multipotentialite as someone who has many different interests and jobs throughout their lives.

a highway pictured with a quote from Emilie Wapnick; quote is in article

After watching this Ted Talk, I realized I was a multipotentialite as well. Growing up and not being able to decide what I wanted to do didn’t mean I wasn’t focused or career driven. It meant I was open to experiencing many different things in my life. This Ted Talk helped me realize that not putting all of your efforts into one “thing” isn’t wasting your time. Many people will disregard hobbies or passions, saying they’re “detracting from the time you could be spending on something else,” but I disagree. I believe you need these other experiences in order to do anything in your life to the utmost degree.

That being said, you may fail. You may think you love something, try it, and end up hating it. You may love something and never be able to grow that goal to fruition. You may change your mind every single week on what you like to do and don’t like to do. However, that’s all a part of the process. If you didn’t fail, you couldn’t learn and grow and become a better person than you were before.

So I challenge you all to evaluate not just “what you want to do with your life,” but what you want to see, and feel, and experience, and learn, and grow to be, in every aspect of your life.

For more information about different exploratory opportunities, visit the websites below:

For TTU student organizations: http://ttu.orgsync.com/

For undergraduate writers/artists: https://www.facebook.com/HarbingerStudentLiteraryJournal/

For volunteering: https://www.volunteerlubbock.org/

For career exploration: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/careercenter/careerexploration/index.php


Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling. By Emilie Wapnick. TEDTalks, 26 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.


Images made with Canva.com


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