Pursue Your Passions This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 9, 2009
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Someone once told me, “You're wasting your time on a career that will only lead to starvation.”

Ouch, right? But before I go on, let me give you some background on the career in question.

I want to be a journalist for a newspaper or magazine. After years of exploring my interests, this is what I have decided on. But I'm still affected by what others say, which led me to consider the other side of the argument.

As technology continues to advance with unbelievable speed, print publications are steadily being replaced by websites that update their content practically every time you refresh the browser. Even on my own campus, few seem to care about newspapers anymore; sections of the school paper lie in puddles, and muddy shoe prints soil the pages that took the editors weeks to complete.

More disturbingly, the country is in the midst of an economic downturn, which is leaving people in a perpetual state of uncertainty. And by the time my generation graduates from college, we will be part of a workforce that is highly competitive and incredibly unstable.

But I stand firm in my decision to be a writer. Why? For the idealistic, simple, yet powerful reason that it makes me happy in a way that no amount of money ever could.

Rarely have I found others who think this way, and it always disheartens me to hear students trying to map out their lives based on factors other than pursuing their passions.

Factor number one: parents.

Parents definitely have a right to be involved in their children's lives, but sometimes their words create more stress than encouragement. Instead of trying to make their children happy, as they may have intended, parents can end up squeezing their children's hopes and desires until nothing remains but the hard, coarse seeds of a cruel reality. True, being realistic is important, but everyone needs the chance to dream in order to find happiness, and parents should understand this.

Factor number two: money.

A conversation I had with my college friend one afternoon illustrates this point.

“What happened?” I asked after hearing he had switched majors. “I thought you wanted to be a photographer.”

“I do,” he said. “But there's no money in it. Don't worry,” he added, probably sensing my concern. “I'm happy where I am.”

I really wanted to believe that, but as we continued talking, he constantly interrupted me to point out the beauty of this view and that view, saying he wished he had his camera with him. I didn't know what to think anymore.

Naturally, there's no way to predict where our paths will lead us. In fact, our ideas and plans could very well change down the road. However, at this stage in our lives when so many voices are telling us who we should be, we need to nurture our individual dreams, not stifle them, because they may be the only things left that define us.

Of course, listen to your parents and consider the financial implications of your choices. But keep in mind, too, that you, and no one else, will ultimately have to live with the results of your decisions.

And who knows – maybe that person is right, and I will starve because of my choice to major in journalism. But after witnessing the unhappiness of those who didn't pursue their passion, I am convinced that the worst suffering of all is to not allow yourself to do what you truly love.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 36 comments. Post your own now!

sweetc34 said...
Dec. 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm
i really like your article. it really speaks to me.
maddimaee said...
Dec. 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm
I feel the exact same way! My dream job is to be a journalist for Seventeen Magazine and I'm determined to achieve that goal no matter what
DefyingDancer said...
Nov. 27, 2010 at 10:29 pm
I love this, because I too, want to major in journalism. This can also go the same for private high schools. Some of my friend's parents are forcing them to go to schools, when they never could look at the other options, and they will probably go to the college that THEIR parents went to. It's sickening
teenmom said...
Nov. 27, 2010 at 3:13 pm
its funny how your passions will change when your starving for food and can't feed your family
IamtheshyStargirl said...
Nov. 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm

This is awesome! I really enjoyed reading it, and I applaud you for upholding your dreams!

Thank you very  much for writing and sharing this on Teenink! :)

DaydreamBeliever This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I really liked this, and I never read the college articles.

i'm in grade nine this year and our teachers are really trying to get us to think about our future careers. I've always wanted to do jobs that would never pay much, the lastest being an author, and its hard. you could write something great, but if there is no advertising, no one will read it.

good luck in journalism :)

RhiannonB said...
Oct. 14, 2010 at 5:37 pm
This is a great article! I have always wanted to be a writer, and people also tell me that I won't make enough money. It's nice to know that there are others who are courageous enough to pursue their passions even with financial and other obstacles.
Anyanka said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm
I understand completely. I want to be a fiction writer whenever I can. I just finished my first book and even though people are constantly telling me that writers make no money and that there's too much competition... here I am. I'm still writing novels and working my best to do whatever I can to make this simple little dream come true. Of course I'm willing to come up with a back up plan but I will always be writing. It's what I do and who I am, I won't settle for anything less.
apocalyptigirl said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 8:41 am
"It's not how good you are, it's how bad you want." If you really, really want to pursue something as a career, I believe you will be successful in the long run b/c you won't be able to rest otherwise.
Phantom_Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 31, 2010 at 6:01 am
I love this! I read an article about a kid who didn't have a job, even though he was a college graduate from a prestigeous school. The comments all said he was stupid because his major was liberal arts, and they're aren't a lot of jobs that will take that major. It may not have been the wisest choice, but if that was his passion, what else was he supposed to do? Forget his dream just to take more math classes? I plan on being a writer. I know I will probably not be a successful one, but I will w... (more »)
Amiee said...
Aug. 31, 2010 at 3:52 am


i wanna be a writer too when i grow up. Even though i'm still at junior high, i am practicing writing and even though some ppl tell me that writing is not successful, it's my passion! :)

Jhinz14 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 4, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I plan on majoring in Business and Marketing this fall, and although my true passion lies with writing, I felt that getting a business degree was a more practical option.  I enjoy business, but not to the extent that I enjoy writing. 

It may seem hypocritical for me to agree with your article, but I do.  I agree with it a hundred percent.  I know a friend who is majoring in journalism and I've supported her decision because she loves to do it.  Sometimes I find... (more »)

Darling,:* said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 11:19 am
Honestly, though, money IS important. I'm growing up in a home where I share a bedroom (and a bed) with my grandma and there are seven other people in my three bedroom, 1000 square foot home. I could ramble on about my life, but I guess what I'm saying is that when someone says money doesn't matter, they haven't experienced having very little money. And yes, it's true that money doesn't make you happy, but it certainly makes life easier and more comfortable. You can... (more »)
ReflectionsofYou replied...
Feb. 25, 2010 at 7:41 am
I don't know if you were talking about me, since you didn't use any names. But trust me I DO know what it's like to have very little money, and to not act like it becuase you don't want to enbarass your family. I know that in this economy it's very hard to support yourslef writing freelance and novels. I'm not afriad to waitress or something like that to pay for an apartment. I'm not afraid to work, but I will always call myself a writer, no matter what my real... (more »)
ReflectionsofYou said...
Dec. 7, 2009 at 10:34 am
I feel the same way about my writing. Money doesn't matter anymore, I'm in too deep. Your style of writing is nice and it flows well. Keep up the good work.
Dokidoki-rin This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 11:57 am
I completely agree, especially with what you said about money. It doesn't always matter if what you want to be doesn't have the promise of money- I don't know where people get the idea that if it doesn't supply a huge income, it's not worth it. :(
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