'Take photos' - Mum
If you've ever dabbled in the world of productivity and self-help, somebody has probably suggested starting a blog, journaling, or vlogging (video blogging) your experiences and holidays. Or as mum always says, 'take photos'.
If you haven't dabbled in the world of productivity and self-help, you've definitely lost yourself in old photo albums - overseas trips, short getaways, parties with friends, nights out, and generally just goofing around.
Having an archive of your life, thoughts and experiences is one of the most valuable resources you can create, both for yourself and others, to remember and record your feelings and experiences.
A Young YouTuber
I often find myself wondering, as I watch YouTube creators with years and years of content, how much joy YouTubers must get from watching their old videos and reflecting on how much they've grown.
I've had my own little YouTube journey. Here's a screenshot of one of my guitar performances from 2010. I'm still recovering from the three dislikes... I thought I was pretty good at the time... still do...
And for memory's sake, here's one from my skateboarding days in 2009, showing people how to ollie over a carpark bump (as you'll probably gather from the title)
As the very thoughtful (though possibly overused) quote goes, 'the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.'
My 22 video YouTube tree has been growing now for several years. Looking back now, twelve years later, The tree looks fantastic. I wish I'd made more.
Towards the end of High School, I took a stab at a new tree, in written form.
The Birth of a Blogger
On the 8th of October 2016, I sat down at my desk, created an account on Blogger, and introduced my personal blog, 'The Thought Bubble'.
The idea of a blog was exciting, I thought to myself. I was two months into my final year of high school, applying to universities around the world and organising my notes for what would be a busy mock exam period in the coming January.
At 9.39pm that evening, I announced my venture into the world of blogging, titling my first post: 'The Thought Bubble: Welcome'. Here it is for you to read.
I'm often told that the key to academic and social success is a vast quantity of 'wider reading'. Intentionally abstract, the term aims to push us towards a style and content of writing which appeals to us as individuals. As an aspiring economist who hopes to embark on a tertiary education journey in the United Kingdom, what better way to voice my opinion on the economic world that through a blog such as this.
My name is Alexander (or Xander for short), and I'm interested in the universality of economics theory and practice. Encompassing the complexity of religion, culture, language and so much more, I believe that economics is one of the fundamental disciplines which connects us all; and is, therefore, worthy of exploring in greater depth.
Over my high school life, I've been reading a range of economic articles and sources, ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Finimize (a daily email newsletter with recent economic news). I hope that this blog can be an amalgamation of my 'wider reading', and help other keen economists make sense of the complexity and sheer breadth of Economics as a discipline.
This blog will be my personal take on a number of economic events, and will hopefully provide both a source of information about the ever-changing economic world and a tool to learn about basic economic theory in a fun and interesting way.
Engage in the discussion by leaving comments and I'd love to use this blog as a platform to spark further intellectual dialogue!
P.S I'll need some time to pretty things up as far as blog design goes but bear with me for now :)
Almost five years have passed since this article was posted, and it was read a grand total of 9 times (with 5 of them likely coming from me refreshing the page to make sure the post had successfully uploaded).
Strangely enough, I can now see that the only reader that actually matters is me. Whether I had 10 readers or 1,000,000, the blog was just as successful in archiving trapping my thoughts on an online thought bubble. After five years, there are a few things that fascinate me about this post:
I saw value in my opinions
I understood the value of broad and wide reading, and saw value in capturing my thoughts and opinions in a blog. Possibly naively, I thought that my opinion mattered, and deserved a space on the world-wide web.
As technology has proliferated and new social media platforms continue to come into existence, I have spent more time in the last five years absorbing other peoples' opinions, and less time forming my own.
This blog will be my platform to form and share my own opinions.
I wasn't afraid to dream big
Maybe I've just become more of a pessimist, but I seriously wrote this:
'I hope that this blog can ... help other keen economists make sense of the complexity and sheer breadth of Economics as a discipline.'
I was eighteen. What did I know about economics? What did I know about anything at all?
Clearly, I believed in myself enough to dream that my blog would become an intellectual access point for knowledge and well-thought-out opinions. That's dreaming big...
I want to continue to think big.
I was committed to the process
Starting something is easy. As I have already done for this new blog, we often get caught up in the details when starting something new. I've already spent an hour of my time trying to understand the process of buying a custom domain name for the website. It's now xanderhoskinson.me instead of xanderhoskinson.ghost.io. Why?...
On The Thought Bubble back in 2016, I wrote:
'P.S I'll need some time to pretty things up as far as blog design goes but bear with me for now :)'
First off, I'm unsure why a blog post required a P.S. I'm quite sure that the text editor would have made any edits quite simple.
But more importantly, I was about to spend time making the blog pretty. Sourcing fancy photos for each post and scrolling through free fonts on the internet to jazz up my headings.
Looking back, the most valuable part of that blog was the text itself. My actual thoughts. My hopes for the blog.
Don't obsess about the details, the content itself is the important part. I was committed to the process of blogging. From 2016-2018, I wrote 11 posts. Doesn't sound like a lot, but honestly I'm impressed that it lasted two years.
I hope that this blog will last much longer.
In January 2018, one month before the start of my university experience in Sydney, I attempted to revive the blog. I wrote
I was reading back through my first blog post in October 2016, and realised how much my life has changed. At that point in my life, I was preparing for my mock IB exams while juggling the challenging applications to UK universities, Oxford in particular.
However, plans change, and in my case, for the better. Since graduating from high school in May of 2017, I've had some time off to do some reading, learn new skills, and gain exposure to the working world through a fantastic four-month internship in the financial sector. I will be starting my first (of five) years at the University of Sydney in March, studying the Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Laws double degree.
I am extremely excited for the fantastic education and experiences that lie ahead of me, and I hope I can take you along on my journey. I hope this blog serves as an engaging and informative look at economic issues, investment, and current financial happenings around the world, as well as an intellectual stimulant for discussion and challenging the status quo.
I had no clue what university would bring, and I'll leave my reflections on university life for another post. I am now in my fourth year of my five year double degree, with much greater clarity on my interests and goals.
I have learnt more than I could possibly have dreamed of, and made friends and had experiences that will last a lifetime.
So I guess this post is revival 2.0. Now having truly realised the importance of documenting thoughts and experiences, I'm going to give this another crack.
I want to hold myself to the same ambition and goals I laid out both in 2016 and 2018: to create a blog which forms 'an intellectual stimulant for discussion and challenging the status quo'.
I'm keen to read this five years into the future. If the experience is anywhere near as cathartic and reflective as my experience digging up The Thought Bubble, then maybe starting a blog really is the best thing you can do.
If you've made it this far, thank you! I've already begun testing out my 'audio blogging' skills on my podcast 'MyStory', which sets out to record and share the experiences of college students at St. Andrew's College within the University of Sydney. You can check it out here: MyStory • A podcast on Anchor
What inspired this post?
My most recent inspiration for reviving the blog is a YouTuber named Ali Abdaal, who I've been watching for several years now.
This video runs through his experience building an online audience with his website, and I'd recommend anyone to give it a watch.