I am someone who has struggled mentally through life — that being depression or just not being sure of where my life is going. I have always been a bit of a loner and could be classified as an introvert. It isn’t that I don’t like spending time with people, it is just that I get social anxiety when I am around a lot of people that I am not familiar with. While I do not have many friends, I do have a handful of people that I hold close to me. These people aren’t always introverts — in many cases they are very different than me — but we find a level to connect on which allows me to trust them and let them into the always spinning mess that I call my life.
Now that I have gotten that thought process out of the way, I can talk about what this post is about: following your dreams. When you are a kid you are always asked by adults, “what do you want to do when you grow up?” While I wasn’t pressured by my parents at the time, I never really had an answer for that. As I went through middle school and then into high school, I found that I really loved tinkering with electronics and computers. This love most likely stemmed from a mix of my Dad working in a wide assortment of computer related fields as I grew up and the quickly growing number of electronics that were made available to my generation.
It wasn’t until I decided to move to LA where my Dad lives that I finally purchased my first data-connected smart phone. There was just one issue: I hated that damn phone. The user interface was clunky, the phone itself was slow, and it was just not the amazing thing that I had wanted all of my life. (All of my life being the over dramatized thoughts that any high schooler has had.) The next thing that happened to me opened up 2 of the 3 things that I love today and I would have never considered as a life-long career path for myself.
The first thing was writing code and hacking devices. I quickly took to online forums and website such as Phonedog, XDA, and Droid-Life to find ways to improve my phone — no matter what it took. Long story short, I soon became the type of person that spent every free minute I had on my computer and either doing research or typing away at a text editor making modifications to files on my phone or making applications for the classes I was in.
The second thing I quickly found out about myself was my love for journalism. Throughout the process of finding ways to modify and making my phone better, I spent way too much time on the up and coming Android news sites that are now widely known by millions of people online. Once I got bored with reading so much about Android devices and the different software tweaks that were available for them, I decided it would be better for me to focus my time and energy into writing my own news stories and tutorials instead of just reading what everyone else was saying. This quickly grew into my own news publication called AndroidMeter.
These were my dreams at the time. I loved writing code and I loved writing news. As I finished high school, I continued trying to grow these dreams. While my coding was mainly done when I was bored and when I had nothing else to do, my thirst for online journalism grew. Several classmates joined my always changing company and while none of us were getting paid, we all put in our own time to grow this seemingly small company.
High school ended and I had an opportunity to be an IT intern at a company called Oblong which happened to be where my Dad was and currently is the System Admin. Here I spent 3 months learning more than I had ever expected to about computers. This is where I learned that my third passion is working with computers and working in the IT field. Never before this did I ever expect to want to fix people’s computer problems — even if it is just turning something off and back on again.
I entered college in 2012 as an Information Systems major. While this is a business degree, it was supposed to have a focus on computers and seemed to be the closest thing to an IT degree on campus. During this time I continued to write and grow my publication, AndroidMeter, and got a job working IT and web development at my school’s student union. This meant that I was working on achieving two of my passions everyday but also meant that coding became a thing to do only when I had spare time — which was very rare.
I quickly began to hate college. I know most people say to stick it out because the first year with all the introductory classes suck but it was much more than that. I was taking mostly business classes and I hated each and every one of them. When I came to college I knew my dream would to be a Journalism Major but after receiving pressure from both sides of my family, I chose a degree that would “make me a lot of money one day.” Because I wanted to continue making my family proud, I chose to switch my degree to Computer Science and to work towards that old dream of mine. Horrible idea.
When I say I like to code, I mean that I to hack things together my own way and have fun with it. When you enter college for a CS degree, your professors want a specific outcome and they expect it to be created in a specific manor. Lets just say I struggled and hated another semester of college.
Out of nowhere, something happened that completely changed my life — I got hired to be a professional journalist. I couldn’t believe it. After writing for myself and getting just enough visitors that companies wanted to send me free stuff to review, I was offered the position to be a writer for a news organization called MobileNations. I was blown away and gladly accepted the job offer. Of course this meant that I would have to abandon the company that I had built from the ground up, but it also meant that I had some major doors opened up for me.
It was at that moment that my family saw the passion in my writing dream. While everyone supported me in their own ways, they couldn’t really see writing as a career path or something I should be “wasting my time doing.” Once I got hired at MobileNations to write for Connectedly and AndroidCentral in May of 2014, they started to see the true me.
It was at this moment that I also opened my eyes to an entirely new reality for my future — I could be a successful journalist.
In my spring semester 2015, I changed my college degree to the one thing that I had wanted (even if it was just a thought in the back of my mind) to major in since applying for college: Journalism. The day I stepped into my first journalism classes everything changed for me; I loved college. It was amazing. I knew right then and there that I had found my true passion.
The video I linked above sparked this post when I watched it. In it, the narrator tells his younger self not to worry about life and what people might say and think. You love this one thing and don’t let anyone get in your way of your dreams. I feel the exact same way.
I found this niche thing that I loved to do while I was still in high school. I created my own path to continue this dream and found friends along the way that joined me and pushed me to continue moving towards my dream.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were many challenges and hurtles to get past. The biggest one is always fear. Fear can stop you from doing some stupid stuff such as jumping off a bridge and getting yourself injured but it can also stop you from accomplishing your dreams. I fought my fears and continued down the path of becoming a journalist even though I was constantly told that I was wasting my time.
Your dreams are hard to accomplish; no one ever said happiness comes easily. I just think that if you have the passion for something — no matter how seemingly crazy it might be — go for it.
Besides the video above, there have been three pieces of media that have really made me want to publish this story and share my thoughts on achieving your dreams.
The first is from a scene and the overall plot of the movie Meet the Robinsons. In the movie, every character is trying to motivate the main character to continue moving forward and to accomplish his dreams. In one specific scene, the entire family of characters congratulates the main character for failing. No, they weren’t making fun of him, they were congratulating him on messing up this one time and to learn from it. It is only by failing that we improve ourselves and get one step closer to our dreams.
The second is a comic called Is that not worth exploring? by James Rhodes. In his piece, Rhodes explores the idea of not seeing a dream through. Throughout the comic it shows a father who used to play the piano but left it behind to get an average job and to start a family. The idea brought up here is why not use your free time that is normally spent watching TV or napping and putting it towards completing that forgotten dream.
The final thing is a quote I came up with and only shared publicly a couple of days ago:
Words I will never say.
Always things to do or improve upon.
Always something worth fighting for.
You may have a different understanding of what I am trying to say in those 4 lines but for me, this is what I tell myself every time I finish a project, start to burn out while writing, or getting through something difficult in life.
My final thoughts here is just to go after your dreams. There are a thousand and one excuses that you can make to yourself but only you and your passion can push you to achieving your wildest dreams.