Back in the 1980s, a very popular, and iconic, dance movie released named Flashdance. What made the movie even more popular was its soundtrack, namely the last song, “What a Feeling.” Not only is this one of my favorite songs, it holds a lesson I learned early on in life. The song lyrics say, “Take your passion/make it happen,” and I could not agree more.
I learned this lesson in my 9th grade Honors English class. My teacher told us, if you love to do something, just do it. Find the strength in yourself to love something so deeply that you work on it, improve it, and truly dedicate yourself to it, and the world will recognize that – even your parents.
I did not believe my teacher. My parents had staunchly refused to let me do many things I deeply cared about. For example, my theatre classes, which I adored, were swapped for physics lessons. My hobby of writing, which I needed, was swapped for math tutoring. Always, my struggles in math and sciences trumped my love for the arts. So, while I liked the idea my teacher had, I did not believe him.
However, as high school continued, I found myself always facing the same dilemma- what I loved versus what my parents thought was necessary. I agreed with them. Good grades were very necessary, but I did not love math or science and constantly being forced into them was not helping me. It was, instead, deterring me. After years of battling my parents and myself, I reached an epiphany in my junior year of high school.
I knew I had to survive high school to go to college, however, I also realized that I could only devote my college career studying something I truly loved. I did not want to spend four years studying something that would not give me the education I truly wanted. Now, how to convince my parents?
First, before saying anything to them, I pushed aside my hatred for math and science and began to look at them like things I needed. I needed good grades in those subjects to go to a college I liked, but I did not need to love them or hate them. Thus, instead of struggling, I began to study these subjects as much as I needed to maintain my grades. However, I did not waste my emotional energy on them.
My parents saw my dedication and attitude change, and began to understand me better and listen to me more. Eventually, they understood that I did want to be an excellent student, just not in the subjects they preferred. That did not mean that I did not want to work hard or build a good life for myself. They started supporting my decisions because I began to make decisions for myself.
My lesson, dear high school students is this: if you cannot find something you love – robotics, dance, animation, engineering, whatever it is- and devote yourself to it, then there is no fight worth fighting. There is a difference between hobbies and passion. Hobbies are easily dismissed; they can often be distractions that help you shield yourself from necessary tasks. Passions are goals and you will overcome all odds to pursue them.
Find something you love and you will find yourself. Give yourself a chance to excel in something and things will fall into place. Take your passion – make it happen.
By Tanu Srivastava , ThinkTank Learning Admissions Consultant/Academic Counselor