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The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why – Mark Twain

Perhaps you know a doctor who sings marvelously at parties, an IT consultant who cooks up a storm every weekend, or an elementary school teacher who creates short films on wildlife. In all likelihood, they indulge in these activities because doing so brings joy. Their passion helps them connect with themselves and lead fulfilling lives. Why then, we wonder, did they choose to not teach music, become a chef or travel the world making documentaries?

A possible answer to this question is that our purpose doesn’t always align with our passion. Our passion is defined by what we feel most enthusiastic about, while our purpose rests wholly on what we care the most deeply for. The best option for you, therefore, is the one that combines the two. If, for instance, you are passionate about the way in which the human brain works and care deeply about guiding others, a discipline you may be best suited for is Psychology! This principle works similarly for when you wish to combine your passion for mathematics with the purpose of making scientific discoveries (Engineering), your passion for design with the purpose of promoting ethical fashion (Sustainable Fashion Design), or your passion for creating products and services with the purpose of improving the overall quality of life (Business).

Discovering your passion and purpose, however, are herculean tasks in themselves. It requires steady introspection, flexibility, and analysis. To truly identify them, you may start by ranking the activities, causes, themes, and ideas you’re most enthusiastic about. Next, unravel them to understand where they really originate from. For instance, are you passionate about a subject only because your role model is? What drives you the most to pursue it? Are you passionate about it because it’s the only option you’ve ever explored? Once you form and answer similar questions for yourself, you will have finished more than half the work that’s required to uncover your unique path. To test whether or not you’re going about it the right way, you could sign up for online courses that are relevant to your area, course, or institute of interest. Another simple way is to list your skills and traits that work for and against a particular choice and consider every factor that will determine the feasibility of your decision. Remember, these few years in college or high school lay the foundation for your future. Each option you consider should take into account your long-term goals and its future implications. Be sure to research objectively and much before the time of application!

As you switch from one academic institution to another, the need to explore your alternatives becomes increasingly crucial. Unlike your schooling years, transitioning to college grants you a lot more control over what, where, and how you wish to study. In addition to identifying the course, you feel most passionate about and drawn toward, you must also do your homework! Allocate time to research the institutes you wish to apply to and how compatible you are with their guidelines, provisions, and administrative requirements. Any decision you make thereafter must be well-informed, reasonable, and yet intuitive. A common mistake you may make is in assuming that repute and social standing are all that make a college. Ultimately, what makes a college is the experiences it offers. It is only after you consider these factors carefully that you can channel your passion into the groundwork that is required to successfully get in.

Whether or not we admit it, societal values shape our perceptions of ourselves and most importantly, the future. We are made to believe that careers which promise more money, automatically grant us more power and respect. This, in turn, nurtures boundaries between what we really wish to do and what we think will line our pockets better. This is why we’re here to remind you that success is measured not by your fame and fortune, but by the amount of satisfaction you can derive from engaging with a pursuit. There is very little that can stop you once you persistently work toward making your passion a reality.

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