By Melissa Schill
It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon in the middle of October. Jeremiah Thompson and two of his roommates gather in the living room of their small college apartment. They play Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), a fantasy role-playing game, for the next few hours. The recording microphone sitting between them betrays that this is no ordinary hang out time, however. This is a weekly production of Thompson’s D&D podcast, Roll of Inspiration.
Thompson was inspired to make his own podcast during the summer, after spending significant time listening to D&D podcasts to pass time while he worked. “I was like, ‘I could do this!’ so I started researching.”
Each D&D player creates a character and embarks on adventures, engaging in battles, gathering knowledge and solving problems. These adventures give them an opportunity to collect experience points to become more powerful from game to game. The Dungeon Master narrates and referees the game.
Thompson released his first podcast on Oct. 5, and releases a new episode each week on most streaming platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, Google.
Though his following is still small, Thompson would “love” to be involved in the podcasting business as a career, whether on the production side or the editing side. “I’ve always wanted to be a content creator,” he explained.
Thompson came into college as a computer science major but switched to communication media studies, a major better suited to his future aspirations. However, the switch was not purely career-oriented. Thompson struggled with the difficult caliber of his computer science classes, and per his parents’ urging, he decided to adopt a major that he could excel in.
Academics have not generally come easily to Thompson, but he has never let it stop him. When it came to picking a college, Thompson’s father made an offhand comment that he probably wouldn’t be able to make it into Wheaton College due to its academic rigor. “I took it as a challenge,” Thompson said. He worked hard to bring up his GPA, and was accepted. Though it wasn’t without bumps in the road, he is now approaching graduation this spring.
This was not the first time Thompson took up a challenge for the sake of proving someone wrong. In high school, Thompson was involved in band and was looking to make it to state. He chose a piece by Joseph Barat, despite being told that it was beyond his skill level. “There’s this pattern in my life that whenever people tell me I can’t do something, I do it,” Thompson said. After spending weeks practicing, he performed the difficult piece and triumphed: he made it to state.
This hardy insistence on succeeding in the face of adversity is a product of his childhood. Thompson was adopted at the age of six after spending some time in the foster care system. These early years of constant change proved to be difficult for the young Thompson. “I was a hyper kid. I was a rule-breaker,” he said. “I caused a lot of frustration, and feel bad about that.”
However, his sometimes difficult childhood shaped some core values within Thompson. His innate desire to overcome personal adversity comes with perseverance. “I’m not one who usually gives up. I’m a man of my word and I work really hard to get things done. I got that from my dad; he really instilled that upon me growing up.”
Thompson is also a firm advocate of instilling good conversation. Though he sometimes enters into controversial territory, Thompson is not afraid to say what he believes needs to be said. Whether it’s through his podcast, in the classroom, or even in conversations with his girlfriend or friends, Thompson’s voice is heard. His perseverance ensures that.