Choosing passion over financial prosperity

“Don’t you want to make 
any money?”

While a prosperous life doesn’t sound too shabby, I have come to the conclusion that we as a nation have put too much focus on wealth and paid far too little attention on enjoying the rest of our lives. So I’ve decided to 
pursue happiness.

Happiness isn’t very reliable. We cannot obtain happiness and hold onto it permanently; it comes and it goes. Yet, money is not very reliable either. It can be spent, lost or ultimately be proven worthless under the right circumstances. Honestly, everything we pursue in life is a gamble, it’s about finding what we feel is most worth the effort.

To me, writing is worth it. It’s worth the debt from student loans – at least this is what I tell myself every semester. It’s worth being repeatedly asked why I want to spend the rest of my life in search of money. It’s worth being told I’ll have to move to New York City to find a decent job (who am I kidding? That’s the best part!). Writing is worth all of the effort, struggle and questioning because nothing in this world makes me as happy as seeing my words in print.

A part of me still sinks every time I hear people ask me that question and suggest a different, more financially-beneficial major for me to pursue, yet I continue to remind myself of how miserable my life would be if I couldn’t spend the rest of it writing. My prayer is for every single person at the University, and anywhere else, to find a passion that fulfills them in this way.

There is no greater joy than discovering our ultimate passion, what we were made for, and seeking it with our whole hearts. Like I said, happiness is unreliable – it waivers in and out and doesn’t hang around forever – but when we find something that makes the rest of our lives worthwhile, we find a way to make happiness stick around for a little bit longer.

For those students who are pursuing a career for their parents’ sake (if they’re paying for school, I totally understand, don’t ruin that) or those who are so caught up with ensuring their future wealth that they can’t even decide on a major, I encourage you to let go of the idea that you will be happier if and when you are rich. Regardless of what we are told, money can’t buy happiness. I know it’s cliche, but we must all find the passions of our lives and pursue them to the highest degree. We can’t afford any more miserable doctors, lawyers and engineers in the world. Why do you think so many adults are so unhappy? Join me, let’s be passionate, poor (ok, hopefully not poor, but you get it) and happy together.

Danielle Waddell is a sophomore 
majoring in journalism. Her column runs weekly.

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