A Mercer University graduate’s new podcast aims to help young people find much-needed balance in their lives.
In the Life v. Lifestyle podcast, Donald Williams Jr. explores topics to help teens and young adults nurture the balance between their life — which he defines as friends, family, relationships and health — and lifestyle — work, hobbies, vices and habits.
“I realized that we spend most of our life trying to maximize our life and our lifestyle,” said Williams, a 2020 graduate who double-majored in international business and economics. “And in pursuit of maximizing both, we often don’t maximize either.”
The podcast focuses on helping 15- to 30-year-olds work through life’s transitions from preteen to teen to young adult to “full-fledged” adulthood, he said.
“There’s a lot that happens in these transition phases,” he said. “Not only do you have puberty itself but just the notion of figuring out what you want to do.
“All these big questions (about college, careers, marriage and kids) are right here in that 15-30 age range. They really start piling on you, and I feel as though there isn’t enough information sharing on how to find that balance.”
The Life v. Lifestyle podcast, which launched Aug. 12 and can be found wherever you get your podcasts, tackles those questions.
The first episode explains Williams’ idea behind the podcast. Other episodes feature a conversation between Williams and an expert on that episode’s topic, such as asset accumulation and paying for college.
August Armbrister, a study abroad adviser at Mercer, is a guest on an upcoming episode about study abroad.
“Having that ability to reach a generation that I’m not a part of and (Williams’) ability to advocate and really speak in a way that’s going to resonate with them appealed to me,” Armbrister said.
In the episode, Williams and Armbrister will discuss 15 tips for studying abroad, including budget, culture, mental health and more.
“It was primarily just us going back and forth about each point and tip and then sharing our own experiences,” Armbrister said. “You’re really seeing perspectives from two people who have been abroad at different periods and how conversations and questions about study abroad have changed over time.”
Study abroad trips to Japan and Spain played a major role in Williams’ life.
Not only did they put him on his current career path to be a U.S. diplomat — he’s now pursuing a Master of Arts in international economic policy at George Washington University — but seeing the different societies and people made him question his own beliefs.
“When I got to Spain, the siesta was just a beautiful thing for me,” he said. “Just the idea that you should be going home and spending time with your family, taking a break, taking a rest, making sure that you’re getting that life opportunity that you need.
“It just changed my perspective.”
Williams said before the study abroad trips, he was always thinking about the next step he had to take.
“I always was on that grind mindset, just thinking, all right, I have to do this and this and this to get to that next step. And once I get to that next step, I can do this, this and this,” he said.
“And it’s just a constant cycle. I never took the time to take a step back and think like, ‘Oh wow, Donald, you’ve really done something. You should be proud of that.’”
He said he’s now trying to take a step back and focus more on his relationships.
“I’m much happier now, and I know I have a long way to go, but I also want to share that new mindset with people,” he said.