Letter from the editor
By Bethany Kyle—
It’s the time of year that Tarleton’s campus is overrun with high school seniors touring, deciding if this is the school where they will spend the next four years of their lives. Choosing a school (or deciding if they will even go to school) is just one of the big decisions they will be making; there is still the question of the career path they want to follow.
When undecided 18 year olds are attempting to make this decision, the same piece of advice is given to them over and over: “Do what you love.”
This is problematic.
I have been watching my younger sister, currently a high school senior, go through this struggle for the past several months. She has picked her school, Tarleton, of course, but choosing a major that encompasses all of her hopes, dreams and passions has proved impossible and, I’m arguing, unnecessary.
Typically, young adults do not know what it is they are passionate about, and telling them that the only answer to their future is figuring it out is putting a lot of pressure on them. Then, when they have found something they love to do, we are quick to tell them that it is impossible to make an actual living doing it, and they must choose something more practical.
A second issue is that it implies that every job that is not loved is not worth doing. When you tell a young adult to do only what he or she loves, you are saying that anything other than that is not of value. People doing a job and doing it well is necessary for society to function. This includes all jobs, from retail to construction, not just the ones that seem the most pleasant or dream fulfilling.
Finally, success does not need to be measured by money earned. Are you enjoying what you’re doing? If so, then you’re doing it correctly. If you can’t make money doing it, then you make money doing something else, and save what you love for a hobby. Just because you enjoy it does not mean it needs to pay the bills.
Yes, there will be the lucky few that make something that they are passionate about into a lucrative career, but let’s not make it acceptable that those people are the only ones living life correctly.
So if we aren’t telling people to only do what they love to do, what should we be telling them instead? How about, “Do what you can do well,” and “Do what needs to be done.” Don’t let the idea of only doing what you are passionate about replace the importance of encouraging young adults to be contributing members of society.