It’s all about execution.

“Intellectuals who memorize everything, reading for hours on end… fearful of  taking a risk, speaking as if  they were reciting from memory, fail to make any concrete connections between what they have read and what is happening in the world, the country, or the local community. They repeat what has been read with precision but rarely teach anything of personal value.” – Paulo Freire

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you just feel like the universe has been sending you a message? That’s how my week has been. Here I was, just minding my own business, going through the motions, when BAM! The universe started throwing me all these signs. I started listening to podcasts I had never heard of and every one I did spoke to me. Not only did they speak to me, but they got me excited about my future. Who would’ve thought that could happen in the middle of grad school? I’m pursuing my masters right now and it feels like every other week I have someone asking me whether or not I’ll pursue my PhD and I think I finally have the answer. Yes, but not in Communication. Assuming I can make it through my master’s program, I’m going to try and grit my teeth and get through a PhD program in Public Health.

It all started when I listened to a podcast from a not-so-popular bikini competitor, Lacey Dunn. The episode, which you can find here, is a short interview with another bodybuilder who did her master’s thesis on macros vs. meal-prepping. I know most of you probably don’t know what that is but it’s a big debate in the fitness industry. Listening to this, a light bulb went off. If Laurin Conlin did her master’s thesis on something like IIFYM and meal-prepping, so can I. And this got me excited. I can actually take things I’m passionate about and do on my own time anyways and apply it to my graduate studies? Heck yes! This all happened on Monday.

Then Wednesday hit and the universe decided a nudge wasn’t enough and shoved me harder. I went out on a limb and listened to another podcast that I had never listened to before. The podcast, which you can find here was an interview conducted with Quest Nutrition Co-Founder and Impact Theory CEO, Tom Bilyeu. If you’ve never heard of Impact Theory, I highly suggest you check it out. This podcast has three of my favorite things: fitness, business, and human behavior. A lightbulb didn’t just go off this time, there were fireworks.

I’m sure by now you’re all like, “what does this have to do with critical pedagogy and Paulo Freire?” Well, while I was reading this week I kept coming back to a theme shared by both Freire and Bilyeu: it’s all about execution. You can read all you want about facts, theories, concepts, and opinions within your field or pedagogy but what it really comes down to is what you do with that information. If you’re not creating a sense of community where ideas are shared and acknowledged, then change will never take place. Knowledge doesn’t mean s*** unless you use and share it. It’s really hard for me to put into words how much of a brain-gasm I had while putting these three concepts together so I highly encourage you guys to look at them. If you’re not into fitness or health or anything, Tom Bilyeu has a lot to say when it comes to “igniting human potential”.



6 thoughts on “It’s all about execution.

  1. Nice post! Sounds like you are very excited about this topic! The last blog I read also quoted the same sentences that you have at the start of this post. I’m 2 for 2 on that quote, so I’m starting to wonder what message I might be receiving at this moment. I love the connections that you make in this post because I’ve had a lot of those experiences lately too. I used to force myself to read course material that I was “supposed to,” but it was soooo much work. I’ve started to let go of many of those “shoulds” and pursue studies that I find to be interesting. In doing that, I’m finding that starting on my dissertation has been a much smoother process than I was expecting. I’m following what I’m passionate about in the counseling field (much as it seems you are doing), and information is starting to become much more applied instead of just memorized facts. I hope that you are able to pursue a PhD in whatever field you are passionate about and turn information into application.

    P.S. – I’ve never heard the the word “brain-gasm,” love it!


  2. I love the quote you included–definitely a kernel of wisdom–and how you have found a way to relate it to your experiences. And your enthusiasm! Personally, I have to keep reminding myself that my interests are important enough to find a place in academia. Moments of clarity like this, when you see a personal path that fits into the “system,” are motivating for everyone. When you see your path it reminds me that I have one, too.Thanks for sharing, Jess!


  3. The ultimate dream is getting paid to do work that you would do anyway. Although its important to think about your financial and social needs, I think some students would benefit from trying to majors and jobs that (for the most part) don’t feel like work to them.


  4. That’s great the reading really drove a lesson home for you. Making that jump from one discipline to another can be really challenging but you’ll crush it with that attitude. I think you’re right on thinking that critical pedagogy is about the execution and it’s cool you made those interdisciplinary connections because of it! Good luck!


  5. Thank you for sharing! I’ve also had some of those weeks where it seems like the universe is trying to send me a message. I like your point about the importance of community engagement and sharing of knowledge, it also reminded me of the a saying I’ve heard go around in academia where “if it isn’t published, it didn’t happen”.


  6. Thank you for sharing your experience. It takes courage to talk about such major changes in ‘important’ decisions. I agree that an idea, an abstraction or a theory becomes valuable and adds meaning to our lives when it has been practiced. Your experience shows that once we are open to hearing what others say, we may find the inspiration to shape our aspirations for future. I believe we do not become more vulnerable when we question what we want to do with our life. On the contrary, we become braver and stronger in dealing with the challenges in our lives as we keep hearing and reflecting our experiences. – Ezgi


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