In making my list, I tried to cover everything, starting at my earliest memories and going forward.
I went through the dinosaur phase when I was a kid, collecting dinosaur toys, but also studying and memorizing facts from an encyclopedia of dinosaurs. When I was in elementary school I was in a variety of after-school groups. I built a working model rocket, did some Jr. forensics program, took a lot of art classes, had a middle and high school interest in genetics and talked about going into genetic engineering for a while. For several years I wrote and discussed poetry extensively online. I played countless hours of sim city, studied several languages. On and on, it was an eclectic list.
I also included compliments that other people have given me. Many people have commented on my calm, level-headed nature. My mom’s not-so-secret fantasy is to see me be a diplomat. I had three completely separate university teachers tell me, “call me for a recommendation when you are ready to go to law school.” They said this even though I never said anything about law school, they said it based on my writing and research style. One was an English teacher, another was a psychology teacher, and yet another was a native american ethnographer – and they all said almost the same thing. One can’t ignore feedback like that. There were many other things in the mix too, both more specific and more general.
Over the next few days I refined this list – I started to categorize each statement, first into very broad categories, and later into more focused areas. In the end I worked it down to 13 areas of interest. I decided that instead of sitting around thinking abstractly about my interests I would go out and actually explore each of them. So I decided to find some type of practical experience that would allow me to explore each area. The experience could not be a one day affair – it had to at least be a few weeks, but I was ready to consider anything up to a year – hoping that I could work through most of these over the next 3-4 years – I told myself it would be a second-try at college, of sorts. One focused on practical experience instead of abstract exploration. I will put up the full list next time.