“The Unknown” on life and mental health

While many students spent the end of last school year planning for a summer amidst the coronavirus pandemic, seniors Francisco Arevalo, Robert Hernandez and Will Pointon organized their collaborative project “The Unknown Podcast”. They started planning their podcast back in April of 2020, which they started releasing early that May. The podcast started with weekly episodes, but as conflicting schedules arose this school year, the group took a break before recently coming back. They plan to produce episodes every other week.

The Unknown Podcast came from the idea of not knowing what one would wake up to, that each day has different opportunities or unknowns. The group talked about how this connects to some of the general themes found throughout episodes of the podcast and wanting to share with listeners stories about people’s lives and experiences.

“We all had the same idea of what we wanted to do with it in terms of interviewing people and kind of getting to know their life stories, their struggles, their ambitions; and we made it with the purpose of our listeners getting something out of it, being able to learn a little bit but also ourselves being able to learn from those experiences (that guests share),” Arevalo said.

“The way I pictured it, we kind of frame that conversation that they have but we put it in an area that’s more widespread and people feel like they can learn something from (it)… at the end of the day, we do all have our own struggles and we all go through our own things. I think this is just a conversation that needs to be thought about, and we just frame it in a way that is able to be thought about,” Hernandez said.

Since the group started, they’ve recorded 20 episodes which are on average an hour in length. They have interviewed current and former students, athletics coaches, Hastings College Executive President Rich Lloyd and notable individuals such as Chris Malenab, current assistant soccer coach at Reno 1868 FC. They started with a list of potential people they wanted to interview on the podcast but have since gotten to speak with individuals through connections that they might not have had before.

Interviews start with a list of questions but quickly broaden to other conversations and impromptu questions, while a consistent theme of mental health awareness and life experiences is present. The group hopes to continue talking about these themes with listeners, and to extend the conversation with more individuals on diverse experiences they may have not addressed on the podcast yet.

“Instead of talking about someone’s life (generally with them), if that person’s life is centered around let’s say ‘religion,’ we wanna go into depth into that religion and how it affects their day to day life. Not just religion but other stuff, whatever is it,” Pointon said.

The group hopes that with the podcast, they’re able to help listeners with whatever may be going on in their lives through helping share the experiences of those they interview. They noted that their goal is that if at least one person gains something from their podcast, then they’ve done what they wanted to do.

“It makes it easier for a lot of people to get through it if they feel like they’re not alone. So just by our guests telling us or the listeners about their struggles, hopefully that can help someone’s mental health by listening to that and knowing that it’s okay not to be okay. We always end the show with ‘keep going, have hope, and take care,’” Arevalo said.

New episodes of “The Unknown Podcast” will tentatively release on Thursday afternoons on most streaming services. Their most upcoming episode will feature Bruce Batterson, associate professor of business administration.

To listen to The Unknown Podcast, go to https://anchor.fm/theunknownpodcast1.