This article was published in the Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition in April 2013
College is like being a leader in a circus performance: You must juggle balls, tease lions and eat fire. But if you want to impress the audience, you multitask: juggle balls while making gymnastics moves, swallow a sword while teasing a lion and eat fire while hanging upside down.
That is, assuming you’re interested in doing that much work.
Freshman year has mostly been an experiment at finding out what I really want to pursue, trying many activities at once. Writing for multiple newspapers, learning a third language, taking a shot at comparative literature, and so on. But after much academic degustation, the answer to that colossal question, “what do I want to do with my life?” remained the same, except with greater emphasis.
After writing way too many academic papers in a couple of months, sending way too many internship applications for “real-world jobs” and immersing way too much in my compelling third language, I sat down last Friday and wrote fiction stories. Fiction stories! What I love to do.
The point is: college provides many opportunities to try new things out, change your mind about passions and aspirations. But once you find what you absolutely love to do, stop right there! Don’t let it go; don’t get too caught up in the bureaucracies of life. Find time to indulge in your passion.
I stopped my busy self last Friday, sat down and focused on fiction writing. No worries about the “real world,” no worries about the 827 other activities to engage in. And on that Friday, I felt an unsurpassable degree of certainty and accomplishment that made me want to pursue nothing but what I love most.