Passion before paycheck

Last semester, I was taking a full load, which included a physics class, calculus class and a four-hour lab. I only had ten-minute breaks between each, and because of the exhaustion I was feeling, I came to an important realization.

The classes and major I was pursuing served no purpose that truly benefited me. They promised me job security, but I realized very bluntly that I did not want the rest of my college career to look like this semester. I quickly realized engineering was not in my future.

I had betrayed the honest interest I always had of pursuing some sort of career as a journalist. I did this so I could pursue a practical degree in engineering. I only considered this major for the job security and because I enjoy math.

People tend to get frustrated when they come to the crossroads of choosing a practical career over a passion. I was deciding which path I wanted to take during my first semester. The only viable resource I had to seek advice from was my advisor.

I sought his advice, expecting to hear the common advice to stick with it and it will justify itself once I have a stable job. However, to my surprise and gratitude, he said he completely understood my predicament because he had the same problem in college and encouraged me to change my major.

I was incredibly grateful to hear genuine advice, which came from his experience of wrongly pursuing a career in advertising when he actually wanted to be an English professor and playwright. He initiated discussion with different advisors that helped me map out my goals and course schedule.

I already decided if I did pursue journalism, I would couple it with a foreign language, such as French.

As a result, my major turned into a double major. After speaking with directors in the department, I learned it’s common for communication majors to also major in a modern language.

Now that I was back on track, I wanted to participate in activities and groups related to journalism. I found such an activity in“The Patriot.”

I am not naïve enough to assume everyone’s situation is an easy to follow path, perfectly in line with their goals. Many of us aren’t sure of any one career or what our greater purpose is.

The only advice I would give to anyone in a similar situation would be to take stock of their current circumstances, decide if they align with their passions and work out some compromise between practicality and passion.

If it carries any weight and is demonstrative of my point, I’m now working toward a desirable career and work as a journalist for the student newspaper. A career goal which allows me to avoid many math, science and physics classes.

Students should want to end up in a career that makes them happy every day, not one that they dread going to just so their bank account looks nice.