Success isn’t measured in dollar signs | The Triangle

Success isn’t measured in dollar signs


Flickr: Roger H. Goun (Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Flickr: Roger H. Goun (Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)


Growing up, I constantly stressed about finding a career path. What could I see myself doing for the rest of my life? What would make me the happiest? My uneasiness was always soothed by my parents and teachers who would mutter the typical, “Oh, just follow your heart! Do what you love!” So, that’s what I did.

My whole life, I dreamt of being an investigative journalist, so naturally, I majored in communication. Yet, the whole “do what you love” slogan comes back to haunt me as I deal with criticism regarding my major on a daily basis.

I’m always nervous to strike up a conversation with someone for the first time, dreading that moment where I confidently announce my plan in life only to be crushed by the old, “Why aren’t you an engineer? Isn’t that what Drexel is for?” Trying to come up with cool things to say to impress the person, I rattle off jobs I could get with the broadness of my major and the experience I am currently getting, only to be presented with something along the lines of, “So like, are you just okay with the fact that you’re not going to make money?”

I still remember my seventh grade teacher in my “Futures” Class — the class where your 13-year old self had to pinpoint career opportunities you could envision yourself spending the rest of your life doing. I proudly declared I would love to be a journalist, only to hear my teacher respond with giggles, urging me to choose a job where I would “actually make money.” Stunned, I told her I couldn’t think of anything else that would make me happy.

Family members advised me to go into the medical profession. Teachers encouraged me to attend law school. Customers at work would tell me it was clearly logical to become an engineer. There’s one thing that all of these jobs had in common: presumably high salaries. I guess what I should have been told is “follow the dollar signs.”

I spent all of high school trying to unveil some superlative career I could spend the rest of my life doing, but after thorough research and extensive over-thinking, each time I would realize that it wasn’t for me. The only thing that was ‘for me’ was doing what I loved: writing.

Words move me. There’s no better way for me to express myself than allowing my thoughts to flow from my head onto paper like paint onto a canvas. I adore adventure. People. Communicating. Uncovering scandal. So why would I toss these passions away to pick up a stethoscope or a pair of pliers? A worn-down pencil and a notebook are the only tools I’ll ever need.  

I am told day after day that journalists are “weak” and that I am representing a dying art. If this art is so dead then how are we so aware of the world around us? Until there are no more scandals in society and until world peace occurs, journalism will not be dead. It will live on, just as truth and integrity will.

Constantly being told that I made the wrong decision only fuels me to try harder to prove that I have absolutely, completely, entirely made the right decision to major in communication. The more I am doubted, the more motivated I become. The more blank looks I get when I tell people my major, the more I want to write. My heart still stops every time somebody laughs at my decision, but every time, the words sting a little less. I laugh back and tell them to look for me in the New York Times in a few years. Even if I can’t get that far, I’ll still be happy doing what I love for the rest of my life. It’s more important for me to do something I love wholeheartedly and be tight on money than to take on a career I hate to have things that I don’t need.

Money isn’t what I am after — I am searching for happiness. I dream of a world where it’s cool to say you are studying communications, but for now, my goal is to show people how cool it is. Don’t follow the money, follow your dreams.