Kaya: Follow Your Curiosity

Don’t follow your passions.

I know, I know, that sounds like bad advice — terrible, even. After all, isn’t college about pursuing what you’re passionate about and taking advantage of all the opportunities you have to do so?

To an extent, yes. You shouldn’t throw your passions out the window altogether to do things you hate. Knowing what you’re passionate about and exploring that is a key step toward discovering what you want to do for the rest of my life.

Maybe I should clarify: Don’t follow your passions. At least, don’t only follow your passions.

Follow your curiosity instead.

Because while following your passions can lead you to new discoveries, further your academic and career pursuits, or inspire you to reach new heights, doing things you’re passionate about can also be stressful — really stressful — because you love those things so much. Every mistake or roadblock that separates you from what you love can feel like heartbreak, and it’s not exactly a feeling anyone wants to feel all the time. If you spend your whole life doing and chasing what you love, you’re bound to hit some of those roadblocks, and feel some of that heartbreak, along the way.

When you follow your curiosity instead, you might discover something new that you love. You might have an experience that takes you completely out of your comfort zone. You might realize that there is a lot more to life than the one or two things you’re most passionate about.

If you’re like me, you might apply for a radio internship on a whim, and realize that there’s so much more to journalism than you thought. Or you might end up in a class about food history, like I did, and decide to become a history minor — something that high school me never thought I’d do in a million years, because I was so dead-set on my passion for journalism and writing.

When you follow your curiosity, you realize things about yourself that you might not if you were only pursuing what you were passionate about. You end up with new perspectives, fresh ideas, and even more curiosity. You might change your path completely, or continue chasing what you love with renewed energy and passion.

When I followed my curiosity, I ended up in love even more with journalism, the field that allowed me to explore what made me curious — like movies — and write about that curiosity in dozens of reviews. My curiosity turned into a passion for film, and it helped me snag a question with one of my favorite screenwriters and actresses, Greta Gerwig, at a time that I was feeling a bit stretched thin by my own passions.

Her answer to my question?

You guessed it: “Follow your curiosity.”

After all, she said, “the worst thing that could happen is that you spend your whole life following your curiosity.” That’s one outcome I find hard to disagree with.

Will: Managing Your Priorities

Alright, guys, here’s the thing.

College is all about setting priorities. Some nights, you’re gonna sit down in front of your computer and know that there is absolutely no way you’re going to get everything done. That’s just how it goes. So it comes down to being able to make a responsible decision on the things that are more important on that particular night.

The fact of the matter is, before you do literally anything, it’s crucial that you ask yourself if what you’re doing is important to your progression as a student. For example, choosing to watch Spring Breakers instead of studying for an exam wouldn’t be such a terrible decision on, say, a Saturday morning. However, choosing to watch Spring Breakers instead of studying for an exam the night before the actual exam..... not great. Not. Great.

The same goes with extra­curriculars. Sometimes your studies will get in the way of your extra­curriculars, and it is up to you to recognize when and how to adapt. Luckily, COM is a very experience­oriented learning atmosphere. Many of your professors and peers will encourage you to get out and get active with your passions and endeavors. And sometimes classes and your extra­curriculars may work well together, such as when you need somebody to write a profile about or a subject for a short film.

COM, in short, is a melting pot of passion and education. And the priorities that come along with it usually fall right into place.