On Finding Passion

I did not set out to write a how-to guide on “how to find your passion” because the journey of cultivating a college student’s passions amidst a whirlwind of life changes and discoveries is complicated enough. There were moments when I was asked what my passions were, and I was at a loss for words. It was not because I did not have anything I did that brought me joy, but because the act of condensing the multitude of interactions, activities, and relationships into a few words was not simple to me.

I have heard about some exciting passions in college, such as running a small clothing business or working on a radio show, and the obvious answers I would have said, such as “reading” or “baking,” feel as if they do not measure up to the high standards of people’s passions. I’ve understood that my passions or others do not define my worth or identity as a college student and creative person. There is a tendency to equate passion to activities people do in their spare time, but there is more to be said about committing to these passions and having the right mindset.

Rowing in a single with my teammates on a lovely spring morning

Beyond defining passions as the act of doing something you love, it is a state of being. Students do not need to be doing an activity to find passion or to be passionate; instead, students can focus on remaining present in the moment. Whether it is attending a club meeting or going on a walk outside, any undertaking made with intention and active choice is related to passions. The simplest and easiest way of achieving this state is by joining clubs and other groups that share similar interests. The other students you meet in these groups could lead to insights into their passions to gain inspiration or new perspectives on what you want your college life to be composed of. 

Baking with my friend for Valentine’s Day

I have also found that actively taking classes that interest me is more rewarding than taking a class for the ease of getting a good grade or filling up a major requirement. I stay more engaged in my class discussions and am eager to learn another topic that will pique my interest in other fields and activities.

During my first year, I decided to take an entrepreneurship class as an elective rather than a class to satisfy my math requirement. It was a class I took at the right time in my life, as it opened up the world of entrepreneurship for social impact and the fascinating companies people have launched. The entrepreneurship class became my favorite class from that semester because of the topics such as creating a vision, finding a venture, and understanding the vitality and viability of a project. The lessons I learned from my class became applicable to my student life and career goals, pushing me to become a better public speaker and inspiring me on career possibilities from a simple idea. I could not have developed these skills and direction by taking Calculus or any other required class. Rather than looking for classes that fit a standard mold, look for inspiring and exciting classes, and you may be surprised. 

Attending an Harvard iLab talk for my entrepreneurship class

I learned that my true drive is rooted in curiosity. Finding your “why” is the first step in recognizing your calling and taking the initial steps to attain any goal. College is a time to explore what calls to you and your interests, anything that adheres to what you are truly passionate about. It may seem daunting initially with a plethora of experiences you may want to face, but what you will eventually land on will result from understanding yourself and your student’s needs. 

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By Lecia Sun

Lecia is a student at Tufts University studying Classics and World Literature. When she is not reading, she can be found attempting the New York Times Games, trying out a new creative hobby, and dreaming about her next great bake. 

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