The art of being a generalist

Now that I’m specializing in environmental management… the more I realize thatI want to be a generalist.

When I was 17 and deciding on what I should do for university, I was really hard pressed to pick something -anything. I didn’t like English, or languages for that matter, wasn’t a math or science person, didn’t want anything in the social sciences,  the list goes on.  The only thing that somewhat clicked with me was business marketing.  What can I say, I like people:) With international business as my undergrad degree, I can’t say that I’m too disappointed either.

But now, in round two of university life, I can’t stop thinking about what I don’t know yet.

I’m learning that I am interested in psychology, philosophy, politics, geography, history, technology, sciences, (well, still not math yet… need to get over the numbers phobia), art, languages, the list goes on. And this is showing in my course options: business, environmental science, sociology, technology, Finnish, Spanish.

Even in my free time I like going to my new favourite site  www.freedocumentaries.org. I think of it as being a nerdy couch potato;)

I think that knowing a little bit of a lot goes a long way. And one thing is for sure… being a generalist sure makes for great conversations – especially over a round of pints 😉

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3 thoughts on “The art of being a generalist

  1. Adrian says:

    Seems that the same thing happens to me, it has its pros and cons, I mean beaing a generalist..
    But in a long run, I would say that it’s better to be specialized or focused on one or two major subjects, things (whatever).. Maybe your chances of active participation in every conversation decrease then, but at least you are not talking things, which have nothing to do with reality – about history, politics whatever. Unfortunately we have to many generalists now and usually a lot of conversations are more based on arguing that talking or comparing points of view, because of people’s lack of detailed knowledge at least I would say..
    So from my point of view being specialized makes a difference.. might be that Im not right..
    But anyway Im also a generalists with a difference that I like math ;P

    Greeeeets Jane

  2. janeporter says:

    Adrian! thanks for the comment:)

    i agree with you and yeah, perhaps i didn’t mention it here… the importance of actually going deep in a subject so that we actually know what we’re talking about. I guess that’s why i’m specializing now – although, i’ll never know all about the science side…

    but maybe what this means is that it’s just good to learn..whether spread out or deep – learning is always a good thing. Anything is better than spending endless hours watching ridiculous reality tv shows;)

  3. Avery Henderson says:

    Don’t get me started on reality TV…. ohhh man, I watched 10 minutes of what I consider, the rock-bottom of TV. A show where the contestants are hooked to a lie detector test, and asked ridiculously awkward questions… ok, I stop there.

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