The benefit of having two jobs provides opportunity for me to interact with many different kinds of people. Actually, most of my life, I’ve put myself in places where I can. Being an artist to athlete in school, a member of a multi-faith group in college, study abroad, and my time in the Disney College Program, I have been exposed to so many opinions, socioeconomic statuses, and ethnicities. Many shared (or came close to sharing) my mindset on life, fewer didn’t. All of them, however, I am proud to say I did my utmost to understand why they thought what they thought. I employed empathy, an artist’s greatest tool in doing what we do best: bringing awareness to others and ourselves through empathy, so people may understand what it is like to live in another’s shoes, one they most likely will never have to.
That is what I love most about why I chose to major in Creative Writing at Appalachian State University. Why I’m proud of the diploma that hangs in my room after years of hard work and careful study. I learned from exposing myself to almost every angle to civilization, I could give back to the world what it constantly gives to me – a Muse to practice my craft. As introverted as we writers may claim to be, what would we be without our inspiration: people? Which is why I am so infuriated by certain individuals when they place my passion under the guillotine; when they say “so what are you going to do with it?” as if my degree is some kind of eunuch to be questioned for its seemingly lack of useful parts to our species. No. Instead of engaging in a discussion about Thoreau or the ethics of the U.S. Civil War (I minored in History), there is a forced smile and a not at all convincing congratulations for not having a fallback plan. I do not intend to teach.
Forgive me, but I should not have to apologize for following my passion for story-telling and its immeasurable value to civilization. I would have a strong case for story-telling being an essential part in human evolution, not economics. I don’t wish to demean the study of economics; it has its uses just as much as everything else. You see what I did there? Even though I could (with pleasure, I admit) provide an argument to the benefits of a subject or practice in the longevity of our species, I recognized other’s value all the same. Because I can think myself into someone who may like economics. I use empathy to not be an asshole.
Indeed. I went to college not to check another box on a list of requirements to get a job that would give me loads of money. I did something far braver. I chose to follow my passion and my dreams. Forgive me for the corniness. I have an English degree because I LIKE it. Those individuals I mentioned earlier who seem perplexed by this may like money too. But I think one might be less selfish than the other. I studied creative writing to do what artists do best. To help mend the divides in a world where they seem to keep widening. Divides that no amount of money could fill. It aches my stomach to know there are a great many people who think school is just a means to the acquisition of wealth. If that’s what you want. Fine. Go for it. Nobody’s stopping you. Do NOT, nevertheless, prevent me or others from pursuing what they want just because if differs from your perception of what’s useful and not. I college-d for enrichment, to better my mind and expand my boundaries to include a diverse group of individuals. Sacrifice that extra zero on a paycheck to gain more riches for your soul that have no withdrawal limit. If more people studied for the love of feeding their passion instead of what society tells them is practical, then perhaps there might be a little more empathy to go around.
If you got all hot and bothered by this post, in my next one I hope to go over in a little more detail about the kinds of motivations for doing things.