Arriving to the Present, Part 1: Pursue Passion

Before I get down to business with talk of UIC Liautaud's excellent programs and campus life stories, I'd like to share a bit about how I've arrived at UIC.

I was the kid that changed what I wanted to be when I "grew up” every six months or so. There were some deeply rooted dreams that lasted while numerous surface dreams were constantly in flux. A few of the many thoughts that crossed my mind looked like this:

I’ll be a private investigator... no, CIA agent. Though I wish the pink Power Ranger job was real...

I’ll play in the WNBA!

I’m going to be a teacher. I’m good at that...even though it’s not all that exciting.

Instead, I’ll be a celebrity makeup artist! That’d be fun! (Note that I love art, but never in my life wore or even applied makeup!)

Maybe I’ll just be an actress...no, a VOICE actress. Yes, definitely voice acting.

In high school, the thought that probably crosses everyone’s mind crossed mine: I just need to be rich so I can do what I want to do. The catch with me, however, is the fact I refuse to hate my job and love my money. I want BOTH. Maybe I could just do something good for the world? Change lives by sacrificing at first and figuring out what I really want out later. After all, who knows what they want to do at 16?

College: Ok, no for real, I’ll be a teacher. The entire system needs to be reformed! I’ll go into administration and political science. A chair in Senate... that will cause a change! So as a college junior, I was a double major in Secondary Education and Spanish. I entered an upper-class middle school classroom day after day for more than eight weeks. Before long (well more like right away), I knew that the stringent education system was not the place for me. I need creative reign and collaboration for developing better systems. Academia is way too traditional for my tastes.

Moral of the story: Simply being skilled in a specific area is not reason enough to pursue a career in that discipline. Pursue your passion. There is no burnout or regret in doing what you love.

Post-Undergrad: I graduated a semester early with a Bachelors’ in Spanish and flew to France on vacation to celebrate liberation. After France, I went to live in Lima, Peru, for a few months to volunteer at a boys’ home and soak in the rich Peruvian culture. As my funds began to fade, the question revisited me, “What do I want?” More than anything, I want to be happy. What makes me happy? Having no worries, seeing the world in new ways, and sharing priceless, precious moments with the people I adore.

So what next? How do I pursue my passion and make a living?

--To be continued in part 2--

(Photo taken in Machu Picchu, Peru. You can see that I have NO idea where life will take me upon returning home to the US. No sense in stressing about it on vacation!)

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Keila Harris is an MBA Candidate 2012 and a Liautaud Student Ambassador. She is a full-time student concentrating on Marketing and Management, with a professional background in Technology and Education. Read her student spotlight feature here.