Journalist or what?

South Asian culture dictates that to be to successful you either have to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer. And if you do aspire to be a writer, you better have a book published or something written up in the NYTimes even though you’ve only been out of school for three years!

This is, of course, according to my mother.

So, where do I fall? I don’t consider myself unsuccessful as of yet because I’m still climbing those steep steps to achieve my goals. Do I wish I could’ve done a lot of things differently while in college? Yes. Do I think I underestimate myself? Yes. Have I slacked off in the past? Yes. Have I been an underachiever? Yes. Am I going to make it my goal to turn all these yes’s into no’s?



One thought on “Journalist or what?

  1. Forget what other people tell you. It doesn’t matter. If you do anything with it, just use it as a catalyst to prove them wrong.

    When I told my dad I was going to major in journalism, he told me to ask my uncle (who graduated about three *decades* earlier from the same program I eventually attended but ended up becoming a waiter) what good a journalism degree was? You know the difference between myself and my uncle, who liked writing and was interested in politics but never really journalism? I made a deliberate decision to pick this profession. He wandered into a major that never fit and then graduated trained for a job he never desired. Plus, I left it open to deciding later it had been the wrong decision and changing my mind. I also got in there and actually did journalism while I was still in school, learning the trade and the craft before I had fully committed to it as a B.S. degree on my resume.

    What your parents tell you, what society tells you … none of that matters as much as being happy in the decision you make. And the thing about decisions is, having been made, you can’t unmake them. There will be more decisions, including some that will bring you right back to the place you were before; only then, you’ll be wiser because you’ll know why you won’t make the initial decision again. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Look on your past experiences not as “No’s” or mistakes, but as opportunities to learn what you didn’t want or what path not to take.

    So if you’re happy in journalism, do it. But be open to the idea it might not work out how you first envisioned. It might not be right for you. It might not make your parents proud. But they will come around when they understand success isn’t measured in zero’s on the end of your salary. The reward is happiness, and in this profession, a big chunk of that is knowing that what you do makes a difference.

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