“The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
When I started this blog, it was off the back of a meeting with a careers advisor at my university. I was 19, in my second year of my biochemistry degree, and in a mild panic because it was getting to the time of year when I felt I should be applying to internships. I was looking for a way to do something creative with my biochemistry degree, which at that point, I was already becoming disillusioned with. This had led me to the idea of “science communication”, and so after a discussion about the fact that I missed writing (I spent a lot of my childhood writing stories), I created a blog where I would write about the science and psychology of everyday life.
Gradually, that idea fell by the wayside, as my brain filled up with new ideas of things to write about, and my ideas about my future career changed several times over the next couple of years.
Now, shortly after the three year anniversary of that initial blog post, my content has completely changed. I no longer write about science, although I’ve kept my science-y blog name, “Blogging for Dopamine”. Now I write about books and pop culture, things that I’ve been geeking out silently for as long as I can remember, with the occasional insight from outside of one of these spheres.
My blog posts aren’t the only things that have changed over the last three years. For my three years of blogging, here are three things that I’ve changed since starting this blog.
I’ve rediscovered my passions
Blogging has helped me to rediscover the things I really care about. When I felt an urge to write about TV shows and books, it was because these were the things that I wanted to tell the world about, and once I started to do that, it became a positive feedback cycle. Because I wanted to write about books, I was motivated to read more books, and the more I read, the more I could write. I didn’t realise how much I’d missed reading until I found it again.
I’ve gone from being someone who never knew what to say when asked about hobbies and interests (do Netflix, over-eating, and feeling anxious count?) to someone with a range of different interests, all of which I could talk about for hours.
And the best part is, now I have people who’ll listen to me talk about those things. Some of you who for me, have only existed in this virtual space, whilst others are people I’ve met in person and found interests in common with.
I’ve had some amazing experiences
Blogging has also led me to some crazy new experiences that I otherwise never would have considered. If it wasn’t for blogging, I never would have started going to conventions, some of which have been highlights of the last couple of years, and never would have started going to book signings where I’ve made friends with fellow bloggers.
I probably never would have co-hosted a student radio show either, something which was a major challenge to an introvert like me, and became one of the most rewarding endeavors of my university experience. I probably wouldn’t have become an editor of a section of my university’s newspaper, written for a geek culture website, and probably wouldn’t have started playing Dungeons and Dragons.
By talking about my interests online, I opened a door to all these new experiences, places and people, all of which I could have easily missed out on.
I feel much more confident in who I am
All these experiences have contributed to the person I am today. Hosting a radio show, interviewing strangers, and my brief encounter with Twitch pushed me outside of my social comfort zone and built my confidence. My outward confidence is one of the areas of my personality that’s grown the most over the past few years, and it’s had a huge influence on where I am today.
Blogging has also helped me with my internal confidence, and has given me a sense of self. I have a clearer idea of who I am, what drives me, and what I value. I’ve learnt to embrace my identity as a nerd and a bookworm. Whilst only a few years ago, I would have felt embarrassed to admit my obsession with fantasy books and my love of games, I’ve now come to embrace this.
Hands-down, starting this blog is one of the best things I’ve done, and is one of only a handful of experiences that I simply can’t imagine my life without. And of course, without people here to read it, this blog wouldn’t mean half as much as it does.
So to everyone who’s taken the time to read something I’ve written over the past three years, and to those who’ve helped me feel at home in either the blogging or the nerd community, thank you for being there.