Find passion for your profession

How societal expectations form our futures

Genevieve Esh

More stories from Genevieve Esh

December 14, 2022

Create what makes you happy. Pictured is a piece of my hobby art.

I’d always planned on going to college before starting a well-enough paying career. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher or therapist, but it wasn’t until senior year of high school when applying for colleges I realized that’s not what I want.

I was never fond of school. From homework to petty drama — it’s never been my scene. The expectations to have straight A’s, be involved in extracurriculars and go to a good college is overwhelming.

The truth is I’m better suited for unconventional work. If I’m not interested in my work it’s hard convincing myself to do it. Additionally, my chronic migraines and neurodivergence make structure very hard to follow. 

All this to say that I’m not made for college, but I was made to go to college because of our society’s expectations for kids to do so. 

I’m an art major, which is a very useful degree for the work I hope to do. But, there are some things that no amount of art and writing classes can teach — creativity and the motivation to use it. These skills are up to the eye of the beholder.

There’s no shortage of unconventional professions such as artist, writer, performer and so many more. But, our society teaches us from a young age that you need degrees to succeed. While they definitely help, there are more alternative paths opening up. 

Passion for a subject will take you further than just picking a well-paying job and sticking to that path. Success seems like the luck of the draw no matter how hard we work, but luck favors the passionate in this case.  

You can’t teach passion for a subject. That’s why I believe that following a path you truly want to be on — to achieve an end goal you want nothing other than — is more important than always choosing the safe path.

Would you rather read a book that someone was taught to write a certain way or a book that was the author’s life work? I’d guess most people choose the latter which is why authors such as Stephen King are so successful. Their job is their passion.

Take Taylor Swift as another example: she became famous for her music before earning her honorary doctorate in Fine Arts. That book smarts definitely helps, but a love for your job can launch your career infinitely further.

This is why I write stories I’m excited about and create art that holds meaning to me. People really respond to that excitement in the professional world. I’ve received way more offers on art I made for the people I love than art I’ve made for assignments. 

So follow your chosen path, but don’t be afraid to explore your interests — even as hobbies — to keep yourself fulfilled and motivated during your 9 to 5.

The trick is: you need passion to succeed, but a college degree can’t hurt your resume.


Esh can be reached at [email protected].