On Passion, Happiness and Life

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
― John Lennon

Less than two months from now, I’m about to begin college, and pursue a course that most people would not take up. Having been born and raised in an Asian household (albeit our clear Westernization), I grew up believing that I would go on to pursue a course somehow related to science, math or business. But now that’s not the case.

My course is something people would probably look down upon, or laugh at. They would consider it patapon, or a backdoor course. People might probably end up not taking me seriously, once they find out what I’ll be studying in college. Yet unlike most people, I don’t see Creative Writing that way at all.

I started writing in Grade 2, when I was about seven or eight years old. Back then my grammar was horrible and I knew nothing about idioms, or cohesive paragraphs. One of the first stories I had written featured a girl called Danna Graham and the story of how her mom was actually a living legend: an early tale that reflected the deep respect I have for my mother. Yet as the years went by, things changed. I continued to write, but my storylines slowly but surely became more complicated. I learned to use harder words, and I strung cohesive sentences, much to my surprise. The climax of my writing life came when during my last year of elementary, when I took home my first and only gold medal for winning a writing competition.

As time went by, writing grew to be more than a hobby: it became a passion. During my early highschool years, I considered other professions for myself. I wanted to be a chef, a food technologist… even a pathologist (I was a die-hard CSI fan back then). But by the time fourth year came, I had made my choice: I wanted to pursue writing for the rest of my life. It was a marriage I would not soon file for divorce from.

I was, and am still fully aware of the limitations of my course. By the time I graduate college, I cannot be assured of a good salary or a good job in general. Pursuing a profession in writing involves more than talent: it involves perseverance, hard work, and a ton of prayer, and I am very much ready for that. I am very fortunate to be blessed with parents, whom, despite having their own misgivings about my chosen field, are always there to support me. It is with their guidance and encouragement that I am very much ready to pursue my chosen course, and begin college life anew.

People will definitely look down on me and my course, and I am fully prepared for that. There is a part of me that realizes this is more than just a risk, it’s a small act of bravery. Instead of pursuing a course that would guarantee me a job that’ll put food on the table, here I am, taking a course that might render me unsuccessful in later life (if I don’t work, of course). I am pursuing something that I have done for almost half my life, I am pursuing a passion: my passion.

I may not be the most well-read, or the most well-versed person in the world, but that does not mean I do not have the potential to succeed. Why else would I be going to college in the first place? I am going to college to hone my skills: to improve the things in me that lack the potential for me to have drive and to succeed in the world today.

Creative Writing graduates may not be the most in-demand employees in the job market today, yet as a friend of mine once said, ‘with a hardworking spirit and a determined heart, we can achieve anything!’

I leave you with this message:

To all those who are unsure of what to pursue in college:

Go for what you love. You can never be successful if you’re not happy, and you can never be happy if the drive you have to be successful is a flame as weak as the tail of a wounded Charmander. If you pursue something you love, you will find yourself more driven to become successful, because you are pursuing something close to your heart, something special.  College will give you an opportunity to tailor the skills that you have, and to make yourself better at what you love. College was made to prepare you for pursuing your passion and turning that passion into something more than just a day-to-day hobby.

Secondly, never let anyone else except yourself decide on your future. Recall these lines from Invictus

“I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”


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