When you’re five years old, the possibilities of who you can be and what you can do when you grow up seem absolutely endless. Your passions are expressed through fighting imaginary dragons with tree branch swords, baking mud pies, and building grand forts…and that’s all in a day’s work. It’s a fun and free time to live life.

Then before you know it, you’re into your college years. You’ve traded in your tree branch swords for textbooks and laptops, your mud pies for microwaveable ramen in a cup, and your grand fort for dorm life. Life’s a different kind of fun, but the expectations of building a successful career and a stable future loom over your head; a reality that isn’t even a remote idea to the five-year old you. You begin to feel that it’s time to start getting practical with your goals and your career.

Often times, this is a place where young college students decide who they want to be and where they want to be in the future. Between the pressures of choosing “practical” and “the job that’ll make you the most money” it can sometimes seem that there is little room to pursue one’s true passion. This can sometimes result in students choosing a major/field of work just because of the monetary or job stability incentives rather than the true desire to work in that field. Now, there is nothing wrong with pursuing a career solely for the financial stability and security, but let’s challenge ourselves to think beyond just that status quo.

What if you could pursue a career that partners with your passions? Challenge yourself to think outside the box. Maybe you need to pursue the passion first and let the practical come later. If you have a passion for something, it’s there for a reason. I believe that every person has been born with a unique set of skills, strengths, and desires to be someone who no one else can be. So explore those strengths, passions, and interests, whatever they may be. Always remember, that you don’t have to have just one passion or interest. Let’s pursue careers where our passions and purposes are tied together. Don’t be the person who graduates with a degree only to find out that they really are not passionate about the career they’ve chosen. Start exploring those possibilities now.

As a Communications major and a creative type, I’ve chosen a degree that gives me a skillset to provide a foundation to pursue my passions. I like writing, but I haven’t chosen to necessarily just be a writer. I’ve challenged myself to expand my knowledge and experience to many other areas of communications from film/photography to fashion to politics. Through that, I’ve gotten to learn so much more about the world and the fields that I could work in professionally someday. Knowing how many possibilities there could be for me has helped fuel my desire to study harder, learn more, and pursue opportunities that others may not normally think of.

So you got a passion? Maybe it’s a passion for creativity, music, sports, helping the community, you name it. What’s important is that you identify what it is and then expand on how to grow on it. Find ways to incorporate your talents and passions into your career. I want to challenge you to live outside your comfort zone in your college career. Don’t be the type of person who settles just because that job seems the most practical or it’s “the easiest route.” Engage with people from all walks of life, pursue an internship that’s totally different than your area of study (you may find out some new passions or gain a new skillset), take elective courses that will challenge your thinking, the possibilities are endless. You’ll never know how far you can go if you never try to push yourself.

So I hope this post inspires you to get out there and put your passion to work; make it work with you and for you. You never know what could happen. Pursue your dream job, not just your average day job. Pursue passions, and don’t look back.

Cathleen Daly HeadshotCathleen Daly is currently a junior majoring in Communications at Grand Canyon University. Daly has experience working in the areas of film, fashion, and dance. She defines herself as a creative type and enjoys expressing her creativity through writing, photography, film, and her blog, discoveringdaly.blogspot.com. She’s on Twitter as @CathleenLDaly and Instagram as @CathleenLDaly.