Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why I Listen

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I do a lot of listening. It is a proven fact that most people like to talk. I could take the route of cynicism and say it is because they are self-centered. And while I do agree with this statement, I think I am going to veer away from the predictable negativity and look at this simple fact from a different perspective: my own. When I am given my chance to speak, it is freeing and relieving. It is my only real form of catharsis. Some people have found more active--often destructive--ways to relieve stress, however, I am not one of these people. So, I find someone who "has the time" to devote their attention to my sudden need for human contact and I speak. I try to be brief (often with fail), but I just release any feelings holding me down. I do not like to burden the people in my life and because I am a happy person, I try not to overbear anyone with this need. Like I said, I do like to speak, but I am first, and foremost, a listener. And the ability to converse with others is not just good for a few rants and complaints. Talking is a major way to build a relationship with someone. At least, all the "quacks" say so, and while I would, typically, try to steer clear of anything Dr. Phil or Dr. Drew promoted, I believe them to be right.

Last week, I was able to get my first interview with the faculty advisor for a club on campus. It was for my first story as a freelance reporter for my school's student paper. I was nervous until I walked into his office. We smiled and joked and he gave me a good bit of information to use. The whole conversation made me realize why I fell in love with journalism. I had forgotten one of the biggest reasons that journalism really felt like the place that I belonged: interviews--people's stories. In the short amount of time I have worked on school papers, the interviews have always been the biggest excitement for me. I am able to meet new, interesting people and hear their stories and feel their passion in the topics I am covering. It has always been an amazing rush for me. I had been doing so much listening in the past for friends and family, it had never occurred to me, until I started writing for a paper, how it had become a finely-tuned skill that I could use in more aspects in my life than just being a supportive shoulder for a friend. I still do a lot of listening, on the record and off the record, because no matter if I am being made to cover a story, or I am just getting to know someone, listening is what I do. And to be honest, people are more uncensored than they often realize when the other person is quiet and gives the speaker the chance to let their mind wander.

I am not entirely sure if I will always write for a newspaper--online or a physical publication--but my dream is to one day go somewhere amazing, meet some amazing people and record my experiences and the stories and lives I meet along the way. I will feel even more fulfilled if I can do all of that and photograph what I see. There are jobs for such a thing. I want to be moved by what I see and hear, and I want to move others through my recordings. I want to do so much. I just hope my short life will allow for such a dream to eventually come true.


  1. I hope so too. You are a gifted young writer, Jen. You truly are.xoxo

  2. Now we know why you can turn almost any ordinary walking-into-a-movie-theater scene into an adventure ... PEOPLE WATCHER (&LISTENER)!!! LOL. That's the scoop, as they say.

  3. Dude if you need someone to listen, I'm here. Only a phone call away... ALWAYS! :-D

  4. Brenda: Thanks so much!!!

    GT: Ha, yeah... I confess, I am...

    Ashley: I know!! :D I never know what you're doing, but I know you're there for me, kid! :D Love you!!

  5. People love to talk. Yes, we do. That's why we blog! We are fascinating creatures who like to stalk and listen to other people's lives as well as have them return the favor. In real life, everyone is tuning everyone else out for their own jibber-jabber.

  6. Amazing writing as always. Can't wait to say "I knew you when". Listening is how you find out all the good stuff.

  7. Thanks so much, Jenny! You're support always puts a smile to my face.

  8. Another thought provoking post Jen!
    You are gifted & you should know that~

  9. Thanks so much. :D I'm glad people are enjoying this post.


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