Don’t chase the money, chase your passion

By Megan Rule | Opinion Editor

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved reading. There was something about escaping into a book and learning about new characters that enthralled me when I was younger, and carried into my pre-teen and young adult years. Reading was something I picked up on pretty quickly; I was reading chapter books far earlier than most children, and I excelled in the reading categories on standardized tests. I read for fun and challenged myself each summer to read more books than I did the previous summer.

Pretty quickly, I picked up writing as well. Teachers encouraged me to continue writing and never lose my creative spirit, and I fought hard to hold onto it. In middle school, people made fun of me for keeping a journal and writing made-up stories in the margins of my notes. I’d be lying if I said I stood strong and didn’t care what anyone thought, because I definitely started to believe those kids who said I was weird for living in a fantasy world 90 percent of the time.

When I got to high school and had to start thinking about a serious career, writing was in the back of my mind. However, I also wanted to make money and not be a “starving artist” straight out of school. So I finally decided on being a sports doctor. I forced myself to take science classes and focus my energies on anatomy and biology. I applied to college pre-med, as a kinesiology or sports medicine major. My junior year AP English teacher told me I might want to consider journalism, because writing was what made me happiest. I resisted and resisted until I got accepted to Baylor and decided this was where I wanted to go. The day I paid my deposit, I changed my major to journalism.

I still credit her for helping me find my calling and really focus on what I truly want to do in the future. I really struggled in high school biology and chemistry classes, so by this point, I probably would have flunked out of the kinesiology program. My mind just isn’t wired for science, and I was only doing it because I thought it was “what I was supposed to do.”

What I really want to do is write a book. I want someone, someday to come up to me and say my writing positively influenced them. I want someone to say they enjoy reading the words I put on paper and they enjoy escaping into the fantasy world I created for them. I want someone to say my book is their favorite and I want someone to say my writing changed them in a positive way. I think of all the stories I read throughout the years that still stick with me, the books that moved me and inspired me and the little articles that made me cry because they spoke to me. I think of the powerful, award-winning columns I’ve read and the blog posts that start conversations. I want so badly to someday make one of those.

One of the first things we learn in the beginning reporting class here is that a journalist’s role is to tell a story. Sometimes we don’t get to make up the narrative of the stories we write, like with hard news, and sometimes we do, like with opinion columns. When I learned this, I smiled because I knew I was in the right field and I was pursuing the right career. I’ve always loved reading stories, and I quickly realized I someday wanted to tell my own. Although reporting is very different from writing a book, and winning a Pulitzer Prize is very different from landing on the New York Times Bestseller list, they both have the same basic nature. They both tell stories and they both impact people. I’ve been so lucky to get to tell so many stories already in my short two and a half years in school, and I’m thankful and excited to see how many more stories I can tell as my career is just beginning.