We have all heard the phrase “do what makes you happy” – it’s used so often it’s basically a cliché! But do we really do what makes us happy? This is not an easy question to answer.
The average life span of a human is close to 70 years. Probably if you are reading this post, you are in your late teens or early twenties; this means that nearly one third of your life has already gone by. I am not saying this to make you feel sad or anxious – I hope you have so far lived life to its fullest, learned as much as possible, and made great friendships!
So, what is the point of all this? We have to learn to make good, firm, and prompt decisions because time keeps going by. It won’t wait for us.
The process of choosing a professional career is one of the biggest decisions we make. And why is choosing a career so important? Isn’t it “just a job”? When you consider that most people work at least 40 hours per week, not to mention personal time doing job-related activities (commuting, shopping for work-appropriate clothing, worrying about work problems while at home), it makes you realize that being happy at work is hugely important because it will constitute about half of our waking hours for the next few decades!
This is why the decision of what to study and what career to choose is very difficult. The choice of our major and our first “real” job out of university may set us down a certain career path and follow us the rest of our lives. Sounds scary, right? How can one single decision be so important?
I hate to burst your bubble, but every decision we make, big or small, is important. All these decisions put together make up who we are and what we spend our time doing. So, don’t you want to choose a life you actually enjoy and that makes you happy? Do something you truly love and something that motivates you to keep on moving forward. As my great-grandfather used to say, “Always do what you love, whatever it is. If you want to be a shoe shiner, be one. But be the best!”
So why did I choose to write a blog post about this topic? Because lately I have heard some of my friends and fellow students saying that they chose their major because they feel it is a better opportunity for getting a good, high-earning job. That’s fine, and we all know money is an essential factor of life – as long as they actually like what they are studying!
Why study and work in a field you’re not passionate about, when you could be doing something you are totally thrilled to be doing? Don’t you think that if you don’t like the field you’re in, eventually you will not be performing to the best of your ability? Instead you can be studying and eventually working with your thing, your passion, your dream – and, I hope, enjoying every single moment, even the difficult ones.
Follow your instincts, and do what you feel you were meant to do. Imagine if all of us wanted to be doctors, economists, and engineers – it just would not work. We need variety, and above all, the world needs passionate people.
A friend of mine recently started university and she is studying history; she loves it. The process of actually choosing this major was not easy. Many friends and family members questioned her future: What are you going to do with this? Where will you work? Will you be able to afford a comfortable life? Regardless of all the questions and unasked-for opinions, she stayed firm in her decision. It is immediately evident how happy she is, and that’s because she’s passionate about what she has chosen to study.
I have another good friend studying art. Some people have an erroneous idea that those who study art will end up as “starving artists”. Of course, nobody said it would be easy. But nothing in life worth doing is easy, especially if you want to become the best version of yourself. You will encounter many obstacles in your path, but these are all learning opportunities. They will force you to get to know your weaknesses and strengths, to brainstorm better and bigger ideas, and to improve your skills.
It does not matter if you want to become an entrepreneur, musician, diplomat, or accountant: always do what is meant for you and be the best version of yourself. Nothing is guaranteed in life, but if you love what you do, it makes it easier. It is perceived by others in the way you talk, in your mood, and even in how easy it is to get out of bed in the mornings. It is as if you were in a relationship with your career, and you can’t wait to see it every morning. Ok, maybe not like this, but it was to make a point. And this is my point. Do what you love, always. We are here to be happy and life is short, so wouldn’t you want to enjoy it as much as possible?
Read this post in Spanish here.
Victoria Barreda de Alba
Class of 2017
Hometown: Reynosa, Mexico