When I first expressed my dreams to become a writer, the reaction I received was disheartening.
“You know journalism is a dying industry, right?” That sentence is debatable. “You understand how challenging it is to find a job and make good money, right?” That can be said for many professions. “You know not a lot of writers succeed?” I do, but if people only pursued their passions because the road was easy, this world would be a sad, broken place to live in.
I’ve always known that the reason I got into this career is because I love it. It’s as simple as that.
It took years for me to discover that my true calling lies deep within the realm of storytelling. “Passion” was a word I didn’t quite understand until I experienced it firsthand. From then on, pursuing a profession in writing became an instinct to me.
When I selected journalism as my major at Boston University, I did so with wavering hesitation and countless doubts. Though I loved writing, I lacked prior experience in that specific field and in college, the unexpected can be a terrifying prospect.
And that’s exactly what it was: unexpected. I didn’t expect the anxiety that would take hold of my body every time I was about to interview a source, nor did I expect the countless hours of breaking down into tears as I struggled to find the motivation to write.
I wanted to quit. I wondered if I was actually cut out to be a journalist or a storyteller, and if those who predicted my failure were right.
A year later, during my third year of university, I enrolled in a journalism class that shifted my perspective. I was able to write stories centering around social justice and the environment, while also talking to people whose life’s mission was to bring positive change and spread happiness.
I felt so honored to share those stories, and interviewing these sources gave me such a deep appreciation and respect for their meaningful work. It wasn’t long before I realized I belonged here: in the center of communication, where I can share these stories to anyone willing to listen.
I’m aware that writing isn’t as respected a field as engineering, nursing, or law. People may belittle it, saying that the news industry is no longer relevant or that I’m wasting my time pursuing a career that’s so reliant on others.
That’s okay. They can say what they want. What truly matters is that I understand how writing shapes our world and brings meaning to so many lives. Movies, books, news, blogs, and more have unquestionably influenced generations, and this is a fact most people cannot deny.
I am proud of all the stories I’ve managed to write and every voice I amplified. We need more stories so we can learn the power of empathy and humanity in a way that a lecture or a textbook could never teach us — and I want to be the one to set forth that change.
Now, when somebody asks about my career, I no longer shift my answer in the hope of gaining their approval. Becoming a storyteller is always who I’ve wanted to be, long before I entered high school. I can only hope that one day, everyone can experience the sense of belonging that comes from chasing down that dream.
Edited by Sally (Anh) Ngo
October 15, 2023
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