Finding Your Interests

“What do you like to do?” “What are your hobbies?” “What are you interested in?”

These are some questions that we hear frequently, and to be honest, they can give people anxiety. Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to answer those questions. Here at NEXT High School, we are focused on making an Impact on our school and the greater community. The whole project process starts out with interest! It’s not always easy to figure out what you’re interested in, so Jordan and I (Barth) are going to share how we discovered our own interests.

Barth: Growing up, I was always interested in stories. I discovered I liked history through reading the American Girl books (I was obsessed with my American Girl Dolls). As I got older, my interests grew and evolved. I started playing sports - which began my interest of working out and running. I started watching cooking shows on Food Network - which began my interest in cooking. When I went to college, I was conflicted about choosing a major. It seems like a scary step to choose one thing that you will do for the rest of your life. I knew that overall, I wanted to do something with history (my dad always said that I would be a teacher, but I thought that was lame). I became a history major with the goal of getting a job in a museum. During college, my interest in history grew and I discovered a new interest - teaching! I discovered that I loved teaching because I started tutoring at an elementary school for one of my classes. My interests are still growing as I continue to grow and have new experiences. Recently, I discovered that I’m interested in interior design.

My best advice for discovering what your interests are, is to take time to think about what brings you joy and what you want to know more about. Don’t be afraid to try new things! If I had never gone to my first tennis lesson, I wouldn’t have discovered that I loved playing tennis. Keep in mind that interests can grow and change over time - that’s just part of the process of growing up.

Jordan: For a long time I thought my only interests centered around science: plants, animals, anatomy, and genetics. However, when I came to NEXT High School, I was encouraged to be creative and to think bigger than just being a Science Pro. I soon started my own Mind Maps (a type of brainstorming tool) with the help of many of the other NHS Pros and realized that my interests stem from science. I love the art associated with nature and the intricate interworking of cells. In addition, I have a passion for the lost art of hand lettering and calligraphy, but I try to focus on using natural materials or discovering the history of different techniques.

Recently, I joined a rec volleyball league—something I would have never seen myself doing—and I am having a blast! I joined the league with a new friend from NHS and I’m excited to meet new people and continue to expand my interests and experiences. Try something new! You never know what you are going to enjoy doing and what other experiences will spark out of existing experiences.

Now it’s your turn! Think about what makes you happy. What do you do in your spare time? Make a list, talk to your friends, family, pets, anyone and come up with some ideas! Bring a list of your interests to NHS and we will help you turn your interests into topics to discover and research (Inquiry) and then into ways to make an IMPACT!

- Lauren Barth, History Pro & Jordan Jacobssen, Impact Coordinator