When pursuing your passion is worth missing out
“Katherine, have you been getting any sleep?” People who know me have asked me this question pretty frequently. My answer for the majority of this year has been, “Not really.” It seems I’ve become known for a few things in my circle of friends, and two of those have been my bizarre sleeping pattern and my severe coffee addiction. I don’t suffer from insomnia, and I actually enjoy a good nap when I get the chance. No, I’m just a double major involved in a few too many extra-curricular activities.
To some people, my lifestyle has looked a little insane from the outside. I don’t walk around exhausted all the time (remember my severe coffee addiction?), but I know that sometimes I show the stress. I’m sure people wonder if what I do is worth it or whether or not I should be sacrificing quite so much of myself for the work I’ve chosen but there has never been a day that I’ve felt that way. I’m an English and Art double major. If that doesn’t say “highly knowledgeable and very jobless,” I don’t know what does. It doesn’t set me up with a clear career, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee me a life of stability, but ever since I set foot on this campus, I have loved my classes and loved my extracurricular activities.
There were a lot of parties I missed and trips I didn’t go on because I was working on a difficult painting in the studio. I spent a lot of sleepless nights with dear friends, writing papers on books that I never would have read had my teachers not required them for class. There were certainly a few busy weekends spent putting an Athenaeum issue together, and for a shocking number of hours each week I camped out to do our work in the Newswire office. I spent eight months creating one cohesive art show that was put up in the Cohen gallery and taken down after two short weeks. I should be done with my time in the art studios at Cohen, but I still find myself there at 1 a.m., working on art that won’t be graded. I’ve found that after all this time, I ended up missing trips or parties for the things I’ve loved and valued most, and it hasn’t bothered me much at all.
Seniors have a tendency to want to wag their fingers at underclassmen and say “I remember when…” But I won’t give any more advice than this: do what you love to do. Don’t waste time doing what you think you should love to do. No one can find your passions for you. Finding mine has been the sweetest success I’ve had in four years. No matter what I end up doing in the next year, in the next decade or for the rest of my life, I’ve spent four years learning about the things I love, and that passion is something that can never be taken away from me. Spend time learning to love something, and don’t let other people or things distract you from that ever-important search. You’ll find yourself among people who love what you love, who laugh when you laugh and who work for the same reasons and the same causes you do. It’s cliché but true: these are the friends you have for the rest of your life.
I look back on my four years, and while I’ve probably accumulated several weeks’ worth of all-nighters, I don’t regret a single one of them. I’ve got myself a cup of coffee, a group of wonderful friends and a love that I will never lose. There is nothing better.