As I make my transition into the “real world” I, like thousands of other college students, am faced with the question “What are you going to do after college?” And like so many others, my answer is complicated.
Let me orient you. 4 years ago was a hard time for the job market. A national recession made the unemployment rate skyrocket, especially among teens and college grads which additionally caused millions and millions of people to lose their jobs, investments, and savings. Choosing to go to college was a no-brainer. If I was going to compete in an over-saturated job market, I needed to get an education. The problem was that I went into college having no idea what I wanted to do – whether I wanted to be an engineer, a scientist, or a philosophist. But I believe that college is there to help you do exactly that, steer you in the right direction.
To steer means to “control the direction that something moves.” I started college as a freshman in environmental biology, but quickly learned that was not for me – there was no passion, no drive, no motivation to succeed. I needed something fresh, something dynamic, something modern. I had always understood and was good at learning things related to technology, so the need to be involved in media was an obvious choice. I chose to get involved in photography/advertising/design and it changed my outlook on the world.
So my answer is: a passion project.
Passion is a hard thing to come by in this day and age. A person that is truly happy, passionate, and inspired by their work is an innovator, a dreamer. Dreamers are the people who believe they cannot only succeed themselves, but help others succeed in the process. Dreamers are the fools of today and leaders of tomorrow. But let me clarify one thing, I am not talking about daydreaming — vision without action — or chaos — action without vision — but rather talking about dreamers — those who are empowered enough to organize the chaos, plan the dream, and produce the art. Easier said than done, right? I know that it is well within the reach of each and every one of us. There is room in each and every professional field if you are willing to put in the time. A master must be a dreamer. 10,000 hours… Malcom Gladwell says 10,000 hours is the approximate amount of time you must put in to master a skill. You would be crazy to spend 10,000 hours doing something you absolutely hate.
So, find your passion. But first, ask yourself whether you are willing to fail and get shot down, because you will. Are you ready to be discouraged, beat down, and tired, because you will. But most importantly, are you willing to forge through to become extraordinary? Because passion projects aren’t for those content with “good”. Passion projects are for the people willing to go head-on into the unknown, ready to face every obstacle in their path.
Go on young Skywalker, conquer the world.