Monday, June 24, 2024

Passion Over Practicality? 

By Sarah Madison B. Repollo | September 18, 2023

Math is the bane of my existence. 

As a disclaimer, I am a woman taking up Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics (STEAM). But this woman has been staring at her Physics notebook for too long. She has a twitch in her eye from the latest inertia lecture and is at her wits’ end. Her solution? She pulls out a book.

Her fingertips curl against the page, folding it and letting her eyes wander to the next chapter. It’s some typical fantasy romance; she’s already seen the same plot at least twenty times. Despite the lack of novelty, the cheesy lines have her hooked. She’s snapped back to reality at the chime of midnight—her Science homework lay unanswered. 

Reading is my oldest friend. Born without siblings, my choice of companions went a little like this: Mom, Dad, or the book about that one wizard boy with a scar on his forehead. Harry Potter won, obviously—sorry, Mom and Dad. Books brought me to different worlds from the comfort of my bedroom. Many argue that Math brings you success, but to me, my greatest feats came from pulling all-nighters for a good story. The thrill of the tale’s climax hitting has always made me happier than a 99 in Calculus.

For practicality’s sake, society leans towards STEAM careers, and so did I. Based on demand, doctors, engineers, and others of the like are compensated the best. To survive in this world, you need money. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can surely fund a roof over your head, and sleeping with a 60-percent chance of being weathered by the elements isn’t the best thing. It is only natural that people choose guaranteed degrees—ones that are sure to get them a well-paying job after university. 

Not everyone can afford to pursue their interests. College is expensive, after all.

Most people online will tell you to follow your dreams no matter what. 

I’m here to tell you something different. 

Follow your dreams, but do so without compromising your reality. This is not to say that literature-related or creative jobs can’t be an avenue for success. Writers, directors, artists, and other related careers can bring in fame and fortune as much as any occupation. But with these jobs, it’s often different from your normal 9-5. The pay fluctuates with success and doesn’t follow a pattern unlike other professions. Whether you end up a struggling writer or a Stephen King, fate always gets the final say.

I am passionate about reading, but I know deep down that taking a course in that direction could be risky if I don’t play my cards right. I love reading, but does reading love me? Will its love manifest into career opportunities and financial security? How I wish it always did.

For a long time, I regretted choosing STEAM in senior high school. Although it has diminished bit by bit, the longing is always there in a little corner of my heart. One day, when I have a stable job and source of income, I will pursue my love for literature. But for now, practicality trumps passion.

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