Pursue Your Passions | Teen Ink

Pursue Your Passions MAG

March 9, 2009
By Abbie Mendoza BRONZE, Brea, California
Abbie Mendoza BRONZE, Brea, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

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.

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This article has 36 comments.

rduanehuff said...
on Apr. 12 2014 at 9:45 am
From experience, I promise you that if you pursue your passions, you won't go broke in this day and age -  IF you're willing to let go of how you see the end result turning out, and just remain open to the opportunities that present themselves to you as you pursue your passions. Fully embrace social media and all that it can do to perpetuate your passion, sharpen your people skills, and learn to promote your ideas and passions to others. Our opportunities come through the people we interact with (in person), not companies. I landed my dream job because I was engaged in pursuing my passion, and someone saw me doing it. I got the job without even going through an interview or submitting a resume. 6 figures. Not to brag or boast, just to prove that pursuing your passion pays. Hope that helps!

rduanehuff said...
on Apr. 12 2014 at 9:32 am
Abbie, This is a great article, and I wanted to jump in here and support your ideas, thoughts, and dreams. When I was 15 years old, I had a defining moment that let me know, in no uncertain terms, what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I, like so many people listeded to the misguided advice of family, friends, professors, teachers, mentors, etc, and ended up putting that dream and my greatest passion on hold until I was 32 years old. Once I finally decided to pursue my passions, I was able to turn my dream of being a full-time professional speaker, author and trainer into reality. Five years later I am still living my dream. My advice to you and all your readers in this: Pursue your passions and dreams with every ounce of your being. And do it NOW! Here's what I promise will happen if you do: 1. You'll achieve the goals and dreams you value most. 2. You'll have a door open for you to an opportunity you never even imagined, and it will be a better career, business or job opportunity than you could have ever planned for yourself. That's been my life's experience, and I'm made my living the last 5 years helping others achieve greater reesults and fulfillment in their career expereince. Hope this helps!

on Apr. 20 2013 at 4:49 am
allysa marquez, Batangas, Other
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Parents themselves who never uncovered their passion or who did not pursue it because they didn't think they could make a living pursuing their passion or purpose. And what are their Problems or Challenges?

JONESJane said...
on Sep. 30 2012 at 1:18 pm
If you are willing to buy real estate, you will have to receive the loan. Moreover, my brother commonly uses a sba loan, which seems to be really firm.

MeganeOtoko said...
on Apr. 24 2012 at 3:55 am

After just having one of "those" conversations last night from people thinking I was crazy and that needed to "not think so much", this article was just what I needed.

It's awfully frustrating when you seem to be the only one in your circle of friends or family that thinks that pursuing something that you love and believe you can make a timeless contribution in is the intelligent choice. 

Although I can understand why people adopt a "security" way of thinking, it pains me also to see people stubbornly place survival first and their passions second, and then convincing themselves that life is 9 parts misery and 1 part good.

We who choose passion over security have at some point considered or been shown the risks and dangers or our proposed actions - and they are worth noting, especially when someone is truly concerned about us.

As the author so rightly says - pursuing our passions could end up with us being perpetually broke. It's a possibility, but surely this is a temporary setback when we think about the happiness we could potentially find and the genuine good we could give to the world, than if we were to never look in the first place.

on Nov. 14 2011 at 6:33 pm
Akane-Ree BRONZE, New City, New York
1 article 0 photos 55 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"She\'s got it out for me BUT I WEAR THE BIGGEST SMILE"

Meheheheheh. Moi: I want to be a fictional writer, and I actually have a book thats about twenty-six thousand words so far; me and my friend are on chapter nine tomorrow. 

And yes, I would love to go to college to write fiction. But the idea itself is fictitious. -___- because if I don't get published, then...

So, instead, off to be a neuroscientist. I may not be as happy there, but...

on Nov. 14 2011 at 6:04 pm
Dino-chan BRONZE, Wentzville, Missouri
1 article 2 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
"death cannot stop true love only delay it for a while" westly the princess bride

you made a few mistakes but you were clear in your meaning, dont worry english is my first laguge and i think you spell better than i do!

ps for most people spell check is thier best friend!

on Oct. 1 2011 at 11:27 am
ThatGirlOverthere BRONZE, LaLaland, Other
1 article 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We Must
bring our own light
to the darkness" by poet Charles Bukowski
- about prouving yourself... I'm on my way to accomplish that!

 Hello there! I'm new in here and I've written nothing so far... but I joined in because, among other things, I wanted to discuss my interest on Journalism (same as you!). So what you said really spooke to me. I'm also told that my carrer option is no good. 

Back here in Portugal (yes, I'm Portuguese!) there's also this mentality that anyone that is not studying on Sciences, Maths or Technology will end up begin  on the streets. Sad thing!

 Young people often have to swallon comments about their dreams that only dismotivate them. Money is still the main factor - specially when you live in a country not so developed. As a result, many professions are considered to be trash. And there are people who like to scrub that on your face.

 I'm know I'm not saying anything new, but in my last Englis lesson we debated this problem. It reminded me how disancourejing this way of thinking is.

 But... you know what? After wasting my 10th grade on Arts (here in Portugal, when you arrive at the 10th grade, you can pick an Area, in which you study pre-defined disciplines related to the nature of that area), I decided I wanted to be a journalist.

 I gave up drawing; then I started again on Letters. This time I'm convicted of my dream, despize hearing (again and again) that this area is nothing but a good way to unemployment.

 I don't let it stop me: I now believ that you can succed no matter what you do, as long as you are willing to make all the efforts needed, and you stay true to your values. It's all about putting the maximum of passion in all you do - so thanks for reminding us of that!

p.s: I hope I didn't wrote many mistakes; also, in school, we study Britanic English... so I'm praying I made myself clear!  :)

on Aug. 18 2011 at 9:52 pm

Nicely done.

But we all know that some jobs that existed 20 or 30 years ago don't exist now and the people working in those fields aren't getting any work. Or pay to feed themselves.

Of course we should all have a chance to pursue our passions, but we should keep in mind that someday we're going to want maybe settle down and have some kids. You may be fine with starving yourself, but why the kids?

There's another option you could choose. We can tell you love writing and that's what makes you go for it, but there are other fields that let you write too. The more you write there, the better. 

Next time, you could have a counterargument paragraph too to show you realize how and why people might disagree with you and try to prove them wrong.

on Aug. 18 2011 at 1:04 pm
ohheyyyelli SILVER, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
5 articles 3 photos 178 comments
My mom told me last night I probably won't get into my top-choice college. Thanks mum! In a way, it makes you work harder though, right?

on Jul. 27 2011 at 2:18 pm
riley1516 PLATINUM, Lake Zurich, Illinois
26 articles 2 photos 50 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

I can relate to your article. (well written by the way).  I want to pursue film as my career and my family is trying to crush this dream for me. Its just so hard to keep fighting for what I want when my own family offers little support.  I would rather be in a career doing what I love than making alot of money pursuing a career that makes me unhappy

Bambi67 SILVER said...
on Jul. 21 2011 at 3:46 pm
Bambi67 SILVER, Chicago, Illinois
9 articles 1 photo 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
remember that the future comes one day at a time.
Dean Acheson

This is really good. Inspiration to those who had a passion for something but because that career don’t leave money they switched for something else but end up hating that. I see so many people like that but I personally think that you should study what you want, whatever your dream or passion is because at the end of the day you should made yourself happy and not your father they already live their life. It is time for you to start living yours. I love writing and wish I can become a great writer I am still working on it but this is my dream and I hope it will come true specially as having English as my second language, big challenge but anything is possible. Thank you for this  

on Jul. 9 2011 at 2:49 pm
NorthernWriter, Fargo, North Dakota
0 articles 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

I admire how you want to be a writer, despite how negative the situation seems to be but I think your parents make a good point. You can be a writer, but have you considered having something else to do with that? For example, pyschology and writing? Education and writing? Tourism and writing? Getting a minor is something science related may boost your career later on...and you'll still be writing.

on Jul. 5 2011 at 6:11 pm
collegegirladventures GOLD, Mequon, Wisconsin
10 articles 8 photos 307 comments

Favorite Quote:
A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.

~Salman Rushdie

yes. totally agree on the parents and money issue. good story/writing

on Jul. 5 2011 at 3:56 pm
LifeWrite PLATINUM, Westfield, New Jersey
44 articles 14 photos 53 comments
Wow! I completely agree with your article--it is so true! I live in a town where education and money are the top priorities with almost every family, and many kids find the pressure to be too much; they can't live because their parents plan out their lives for them! Great article--keep following your passion! :)

on May. 22 2011 at 12:11 pm
Alice_in_Wonderland GOLD, San Clemente, California
16 articles 0 photos 620 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I could give up, I could stay stuck, or I could move on, So I put one foot front of the other, No no no nothing’s gonna break my stride, “ –David Archuleta (The Other Side of Down)

Wow! I love this article and you did a great job of showing the importance of followiong your passion. You have a good point and I 100% agree with you. I want to be a writer for a career too but, I want to write novels not for newspapers. My parents say exaxtly what your article says, that I have to get another job and write on the side. I can tell just by this one article that you are a really great writer and I think you will be a great journalist. Good luck! I hope your dream comes true. :)

on Apr. 30 2011 at 9:46 pm
WindDancer GOLD, Lexington, Kentucky
10 articles 3 photos 77 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's time to start living the life you've imagined"
- Henry James

"I read to escape, I write to confront."

This is so great and very true! I have lots of interests and passions and am for sure going to pursue them in college, even if I don't know what I'm going to "do" yet with my life or how much money I'll make.

Thanks and PLEASE keep writing and believing in yourself and the power of true passion. Good luck, I really think you can make it if you give it your all.

Fran94 SILVER said...
on Feb. 23 2011 at 4:21 pm
Fran94 SILVER, Hayward, California
8 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you are content with being yourself and never compete or compare, everyone will respect you."

This article is truly inspirational and motivational! I have always tried to pursue what I'm passionate about and love. However, sometimes there are people in my life who try to stop me and make me think realistically. Therefore, its is true that I have seldomly gave in to what they say, but I always come back to pursuing my passions. My dad has always inspired me to pursue my passions. So, it is truly warming to the heart to find an article like this that also encourages people to follow their dreams.

on Jan. 11 2011 at 4:15 pm
i love this article!!! :)<33:D

tahir GOLD said...
on Jan. 10 2011 at 3:16 pm
tahir GOLD, El Cerrito, California
17 articles 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
"the beggar can be the king as the king is the beggar"

wel i agree with you but with pursing your passion you can along the way take a major that you can back paddle on if you journalism doesn't work. i am going to write a article about this in the next two week's.