I often visit “Humans of New York” on Facebook for inspiration. It is a page that has a collection of candid photos taken in NYC. These people often comment on their lives and give advice to whomever is reading them. I came across this photo that I thought was really impressive. This man followed his dreams and is now the editor of one of the most famous magazines, The New York Times. 

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It seems as though the media has heightened the importance of “doing what you love no matter what”. As a college undergrad, there is an ora of pressure that everyone feels to know what they want to do by the end of college. There’s a pressure of getting a well-paid and brand-name job right after these four years. The biggest piece of advice that all my professors, mentors, and friends have been convincing me since I’ve gotten old enough to make my own decisions is to forget about all expectations of doing well in a “respectable” career and to follow my heart. I guess in my case, the epitome of a feasible career is to go into medicine or engineering, with no room for more, and so I can definitely sympathize with those who feel that pressure.

At the same time, however, this “do what you love” mentality has somewhat butchered my work ethic. When people tell you to do what you love and to follow your dreams, they fail to tell you about how much difficulty comes with everything, regardless of whether you love it or not. They make it into an ideal and the very decision to choose to do what you desire is considered the most difficult feat. Despite any stereotype you want to impose on me, I do want to be a doctor. That is what I love. But when there’s a class I can’t seem to do well in or a topic which I simply don’t understand, I feel as though this “do only what you love” mentality has made me lazy. Take biology, for instance. I’ve never been good at it, and these past semesters has proved that. I have little interest in the subject matter and it’s definitely not my strong suit. Instead of working harder, my love for medicine quivered. I questioned myself and what it was that was truly for me…until I realized that there isn’t anything I can’t do. Life isn’t about following your dreams, it’s really about gaining the feeling of accomplishment. Of course no one should be forced into a specific career, but I completely misunderstood the constant encouragement to “do what you love”. The editor of The New York Times, along with everyone else who has said that makes it seem so much easier than it is. Within all his accomplishments, we don’t come close to the many individual failures he probably faced. I liked this photo because we are shown a small portion of his difficulties. He doesn’t ignore the fact that following your dreams and goals actually does come at a price, bigger than anything money-related. I’ve simplified it so much in my mind that whenever I come across some sort of hinderance, I tend to automatically question myself and my wants.

I’m hoping that this summer semester class will be a turning point for that.