TKS Life

How to Build Your Passion in High School

It is a common misconception that passions are found. In reality, passions are built. But in order to build your passion, you first need to find what inspires you to want to work toward that passion in the first place. Through the exploration of unique experiences, you can begin to discover what you truly love, and ultimately work towards building your passion.

The high school experience is structured as an intentional period of growth, and the first phase of the TKS program is meant for you to get exposure to different emerging technologies. Take this as an opportunity to be curious, explore, and learn about yourself. Here are a few avenues that you can try exploring to help reveal what drives and inspires you.

Try diverse activities

Ever thrown a football? Baked a cake? Performed in a play? Learned an instrument? Played a video game? Painted a picture? There are countless activities that you can experience, all with the potential to be the seeds of your passion. As the saying goes, you don’t know if you like something until you try. So while you’re in high school, try everything!

You might end up hating something new, but now you know, and that’s important too. With so much opportunity out there, being able to rule out activities you don’t like will help narrow the search for what you do. But just like you don’t know if you know something if you try, you also don’t know if you won’t like it until you try!

In TKS, students are trying new things all the time! One week, a student may dive into blockchain, and the next they might switch to cellular agriculture. By exploring new topics, students discover new areas of technology they are interested in and skills they’re passionate about building, while also phasing out things they know they don’t love.

TKS challenges and hackathons expose you to diverse groups of people, and can offer valuable perspectives and insights… some that might guide you into a new trajectory towards your passion or a future career. Every experience has a lesson, and the people along the way are just as important. So try everything, keep exploring, and narrow your search!

Build your “T” of experiences and interests

Building your “T” is an important part of developing a passion. But what does building a “T” even mean? This saying refers to the idea of building breadth and depth. The line at the top of the “T” corresponds to breadth, and every new experience, sport, or activity you try adds to that breadth. The vertical shaft of the “T” refers to depth; it gets built out when you take an item along the top, and start working at it more intensely.

Building your "T" Diagram

At TKS, this is the model we encourage for students to develop their own passions. Students are offered a 30+ Explore Modules to learn about topics like cellular agriculture, blockchain, and nanotechnology. As they explore more of these modules, they build out a breadth of knowledge.

Then, students start a Focus, where they choose one of the topics they have explored, and do a deep dive into it. Through working on projects, writing articles, speaking at conferences, and solving important problems during their focus, students are ultimately able to develop their passion.

The real magic happens when you build depth in multiple areas. For example, TKS Alumnus Mir Ali has focused on Artificial Intelligence and Brain-Computer Interfaces, and has been able to build new projects that have never been created before. In a recent project, he intersected the two technologies to predict human emotions right from their brain! By intersecting your interests, you can create a niche pathway to building your passion.

Volunteerism and Internships

Sports and clubs are one thing, volunteerism and internships are another. While the former may be structured within the confines of school, the latter can provide you with the outward-focused perspectives that can help them realize the world is bigger than classrooms and hallways.

At TKS, we have over 80 exclusive internship opportunities for our students this year so that they can work to build their passions in the real-world. These internships provide students with an unprecedented gateway to work on unique problems and learn about the world in a way they might not otherwise be able to.

Because of these internship opportunities, TKS students like Nick Crees have been able to join leading edge companies and work to solve important problems. Through TKS, Nick was connected to Key, a property tech startup, and was offered an internship where he spent the summer working on projects across various teams to enrich their efforts. Through this position, he was able to hone in on his love of innovation, strategy, and people, which he has carried with him in his future endeavours.

“Not until I started to look beyond the classroom did I realize all the opportunities and potential in the real world. Through experiences like TKS and my internship, I was able to learn what truly interests me, and now have the framework and pathway to build my passions,” Nick Crees, TKS Alumnus.

Map out your interests

Over time, you’ll begin to accumulate new interests, disinterests, experiences, lessons, and more. It’s a great practice to write it all down, track your journey, and map your pathway. By having it on paper, you will have an increased awareness of yourself, which can help define your future. You will also have a greater ability to connect your past experiences to the present, which may ignite new ideas or opportunities.