“Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
How many of us have heard this line of rationale used by family members, friends and educators? I know that I have heard this line all throughout my life, and I am sure you have too.
But there is a problem with this line of reasoning: money. As college students, we have been asked since day one what we want to do with the rest of our lives. Alas, many of us here at Stony Brook University came in with high hopes of medical school, or participating in ground-breaking scientific research, or developing the next greatest technology known to man.
But then reality hits: maybe you were not nearly as good as chemistry as you thought you were, or sitting through one more lecture about photosynthesis is going to spark a homicidal tendency in you to destroy all plant life on this earth. Or maybe you realize that you simply do not want to go through the rigors of the pre-med, science or engineering programs here at Stony Brook. And now you feel lost and confused.
I have got fantastic news for you. You are just like everybody else! Nobody can possibly know, with absolute certainty, what they want to do with the rest of their life. Sure, some people may actually wind up going to med school, or become engineers, or become scientific researchers. But for every person who started off on that course track, there are at least ten who have fallen off it. You should not feel like a failure just because you do not follow that career.
Not only this, but you need to enjoy your life as well. I am not saying to go out and party every day that ends in “y.” You need to find a balance between enjoyment and work. But if you wake up every day miserable, hating your job and your career, then no amount of money or success is going to make your life enjoyable. I think it is worth it, if nothing but for your own mental health, to make sure that you pick some kind of career that will not drive you insane.
Maybe what I am trying to get at is this: yes, it is important to find a career that pays a salary one can live off of, if not more. But do not follow some career path because you feel that your parents want you to or because you do not know what else you would do with your life if you were not an engineer. Do something because it provides you with a comfortable, enjoyable life. Because ultimately, life is a story. Every single one of us has our own story to tell. How boring would your story be if you let someone else write it for you?
So take a class in something that interests you. Take a risk. Fall in love. Chase your dreams. Because, when you look back on your life years from now, the things that will be the most important will be those that you loved.