Following Your Passion

The Truth About Following Your Passion

Everyone has heard the phrase “If you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life.” We all want a life filled with doing what we love, but we also want a life where our wallets are filled with money.  Unfortunately for the current generation of college graduates, the fear of not being able to afford to live on your own and start your own family is very real, and plays a big role in what these students major in and how they plan their future.

People tend to be worried that they will be miserable if they are stuck working a job that they do not love, but they are also worried that what they love will not be able to provide a steady living for them.

Ryan Tetro, an instructor of political science and sociology, just began his full-time position as a professor this fall, after working as an adjunct professor and a full time attorney. Tetro is a Monmouth graduate and always believed during his time here that law was something he wanted to practice as a career. Tetro reached out to his old advisor Dr. Joseph Patten,an associate professor of political science and sociology.

“I emailed him [Patten] in the fall of 2014 and told him I didn’t love what I was doing and asked him if there was anything else I could do,” Tetro explained.  “He had always given me great advice when I was a student here, and told me I should consider teaching.”

Tetro began teaching as an adjunct professor here at Monmouth in the fall of 2015. He still worked at his firm, but was always excited to come to class and see his american government students. “I had a Tuesday and Friday morning class that fall and I swear I was never more excited for the weekend to end so I could go back to my class on Tuesday!” Tetro remembered.

It was at the end of that semester that he had quit his job at the law firm he worked for and decided he solely wanted to teach, even if there were no full time positions available. “When I was working for the firm, I missed so many important events in my kids’ lives. I felt like I was two different people all the time,” Tetro said. “Once I quit my job at the firm and began teaching, the first thing my wife told me was ‘I feel like I got my husband back.'”

It’s clear that doing what you love can definitely be satisfying. Kelly Currie, a senior art student, said “I’m happy I decided to study what I’m passionate about. Although art is not the ‘smartest’ choice or the option that will make me the most money (as people usually tell me when I say that I’m an art major) I don’t regret it at all.”

Currie continued, “I know it would be hard to make a living as an artist so I decided to continue school and get my teaching certificate. I love working with kids and I love art, so I decided that becoming an art teacher would be the best for me. I’m happy I went with my passion and found what I wanted to do with it, in a job that I will enjoy.”

Money and happiness don’t always mix, unfortunately. Sometimes your passion won’t always make you a high income. Tetro said, “I felt the pressure to make money for my family, but at the end of the day I was happy and that’s all that mattered.”

It is possible to make a good living and keep your passion alive. Dave DePaola, a senior music industry student, explained, “To me, making music is not something I expect to make a living doing. I’m more interested in making music that I’m proud of regardless of how successful it could be.”

DePaola continued, “I would be happy to find a job doing something else and continue my passion for music outside of my professional life.”

Following your passion can be challenging and stressful, as Tetro and other students have expressed. Tetro shared, “Don’t stop looking for your passion and follow your dreams; Just be educated on what you love.” He continued, “Know exactly what will work for you in the career choice that you want, and that will be your answer to people when they ask ‘What do you want to do with your life?'”

As every student at Monmouth starts to make decisions for life after college, everyone should keep the balance of happiness and fiancial obligations into consideration, and find the perfect harmony betweeen them.