Follow the Dream or Follow the Paycheck?

Many college graduates are unable to find a job in their career field; so, they settle for other offers to pay their bills. With the cost of living constantly on the rise, it can be easy to stray away from dreams. Growing up, my mother always said, “dreams don’t pay the bills.” It was embedded in my mind that money was the most important thing. My grandmother repeated three career fields to my sisters and me. She said, “teachers, doctors, and lawyers;” so, I declared a major in political science with the hopes of becoming a lawyer. My sister pursued a path in health science that could potentially lead to nursing, which to my grandmother, was close enough to a doctor. My mother and grandmother were so proud of us.

Fast forward to sophomore year of college. I was unhappy in my major. I knew that I would not make a good lawyer; I couldn’t even pass my required courses for my major. The only thing I was good at was writing, but everyone told me that I couldn’t pursue a career with a writing degree. Despite everyone’s opinion, I changed my major to professional writing, and I was glad I did. I was finally happy to go to class. I was learning from some of the best writers who helped me find my voice.

Fast forward to graduation day. I had no job offers for writing positions. I was discouraged, because my husband obtained a job offer before he even graduated. Jealousy quickly grew inside me. I applied to over 100 jobs, and I had not heard back from any of them. My dream was so far out of reach that I soon gave up. I got a job at multiple restaurants and was earning a good living off of tips. I didn’t have to couch surf or live off my parents. In my mind, I was successful enough. No, I could not make my dream come true, but at least I was not struggling to make ends meet.

While I had a stable job, I was still not fulfilled. I knew that something was missing. I told myself, “I went to college for a reason. I need to use my degree;” so, I stepped onto the road to follow my dream again. I was going to become a writer no matter what. I began freelance writing, since no one would hire me. I became my own boss. I started to follow my dream instead of following a paycheck.

I know that every story is different. Not everyone can afford to follow their dreams. Some people have families to provide for and not everyone goes to college. Of course if your dream is to become a doctor, but you have not gone to college, you may have to change your plans. However, I am a strong believer that with hard work comes success. A job offer is not going to just come to you. If you have to work an unpaid internship to gain experience, do it. If you have to take night classes while you work your day job, do it. Just remember, you are the only one that has to be happy with your decisions. Whether you choose to follow your dream or follow a paycheck, make sure you are happy. You only get one life to live, so live it up!

 

 

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