BacktoSchool: Consider your Future, Fuel your Passion.

Although “Do what you love” sounds like a corny motivational segment, I’m a firm believer in this. At the very least, what you love should guide you. Consider this when choosing a college major/career path. Originally, I went to college to be a high school history teacher. I knew after my 1st semester of Africana Studies that there wasn’t anything else I wanted to be doing. Before then, I never knew people could go to school and take classes in black history. I’d never learned any in my K-12 curriculum. Being able to get a degree in a subject that continued to validate me was motivating.

Eventually, I realized that I couldn’t be a traditional teacher and do black history all day, so I considered being a professor. I wanted to be just like my professors in my Africana Studies department: on-campus twice a week, playing soca music videos in class and nurturing students like myself to be great. When I got my BA, I thought I was going to do black studies all the way through PhD, but leaving my HBCU changed all that. So now I’m going into a Higher Ed program (at another HBCU) to do the same work I intended to do in a black studies program.

Yes, the road has had its twists, turns, obstacles, and even delays. But a commitment to what I am most passionate about is what drives my persistence. My passion helped me maintain my wiliness to adjust to the changes I needed to make for my journey.

Research and soul search. I had convinced myself in 8th grade that I wanted to go to school to be a chef. I’d been getting good at making a few things from scratch and now I was pressed. My mom was miserable. My dad, had a “whatever you want to do baby” philosophy. But I was smart. I went to the library and researched career paths in culinary arts. I knew how much education I would need. I even researched several Art Institutes where I would potentially go after graduating high school. I knew how many years it would take me to “reach the top”. Although my baking was barely scratching the surface I had ultimate faith in my ability to learn and conquer and I knew one day I’d be an Executive Pastry Chef.

There’s nothing that grinds me more than talking to an undergrad who is too far in and miserable about their major. I know many people’s parents use all kinds of tactics to force their hand for what they want. I don’t agree with this. But I also believe that you should present your folks with a plan. When you figure out what you love, figure out how you can make money doing it and show them how what you’re currently doing will lead you to an end game. Even with all my grand schemes and crazy ideas, my people can never say that I didn’t at least present them with very sound arguments on how I planned to pull them off. Pull out that Powerpoint, slap some graphs on it, and get to work. You’ll have to convince people for the rest of your life that this is for you anyway. Start with a pitch to your folks.

Research career profiles of people doing what you see yourself doing. Investigate what their journeys were like. You may find that they also did not enjoy a clear-cut path to success. Social media is a perfect place to surround yourself with the world you wish to be a part of when you graduate. Check out my post on Twitter accounts you should follow Numbers 8 and 9 cover this especially.

Remember that our parents come from a different time where they were taught that there was one specific path to a specific job/career, and that would be the end of that. Now, the number of unemployed people with coveted degrees in our current day and age shows we require a new kind of maneuvering. It’s all about “skills” now. There are people with degrees in Biology who get accepted to law school and History majors in medical school. This kind of candidate is actually desired. Literally, anything is possible with planning and strategy. You can carve out space for yourself anywhere.

When what you love requires more education: I knew when I entered college that I would at least be going for a Masters because I wanted to be a teacher. But when I thought about the PhD I was suddenly faced with new things to consider. Now, I was faced with 5+ years of school beyond the Bachelors. Some people enter undergrad thinking that 4 year investment will be it. But ish happens. Sometimes that BA takes longer because you changed your mind in the 9th hour, or life fudged up Plan A. Otherwise, like me, you realize that what you really want to do requires more sacrifice than you originally intended.

All in all, the only thing that will survive the changes concerning your future is your passion. Your main responsibility is to do justice to what you’re passionate about by putting the work in to see it come to fruition.

Arrange your education around your passion. Not vice versa.



19 thoughts on “BacktoSchool: Consider your Future, Fuel your Passion.

  1. Nothing but truth here. In retrospect, I wish I had listened more to my passions. I am still not entirely sure what I want out of a career, however, looking at the things I like doing: I probably would have double majored in PR/Communications with my Psychology degree.

    I also love that you touched on “being able to carve your space out anywhere.” These days, it’s all about how you market yourself.

  2. I love this, especially your quote about passion towards the end. I remember being at a crossroads when I finished undergrad. I chose one path even though to this day, both feed my passion and allow me to be creative. After working in a field for 12 years, I feel ready to grow again. The beauty of all this is that we never have to stop coming back to the principles and ideas you laid out here. For some of us, life actually helps us better figure out our passions. Thank you for another wonderful article!

  3. I can totally relate to this post. When I was in college I literally was so lost as to what my passion was and even what I wanted my future career to be. Thanks to my motto of saying yes to opportunity i was able to dabble in so many different fields and eventually settled on my love of journalism and media. which led to me working in the field, having my blog and pursuing a degree in it. A lot of research and soul searching and here i am <3

  4. This just may have come right on time for someone . I’m currently taking a semester off of school (marketing) to soul search. I’m considering a real estate license in my spare time . So this post is pretty motivating !

  5. This post is the truth! “Arrange your education around your passion. Not vice versa.” I really like this sentence you’ve mentioned at the end. This is such a relatable experience among many students or teenagers who are considering what options they can do after they leave high school. I wish back in school, we could have been more equally informed about what else we could do apart from university degrees.
    Within my thirteen years in high school (in Sydney, Australia), I was guided to choosing university by my family and teachers as ‘normally’ the next step. It seemed the norm with my friends too. But considering other options; travelling, gap year, studying at a college, these weren’t emphasised as much as attending a university. I wish that back then when I was confused, I researched a lot more into more of my passions and their career options rather than finding something that may have sounded ‘good’ to my family and peers.
    I really love what you said, “what you really want to do requires more sacrifice than you originally intended” – which is the truth if you really want to something you’re passionate about.
    If you have time, please check out my blog too, which also encourages young people that there are a lot of options to choose from to do what they love, or if they may not know what they want to do yet – it’s okay.
    Thank you for the read!


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