Finding out what I don’t want has been a valuable lesson

By Macaela Bennett on March 04, 2014
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My summer internship and fall semester were important learning tools, because they highlighted goals I no longer want to pursue. For many years, I have been taught to constantly search for and establish goals for myself. This is good advice, but I think there is another angle that young adults need to consider.

Sometimes, knowing what you don’t want is more helpful. I’m sure this depends on the person, but for myself, I constantly struggle with too many interests, too many goals to accomplish, and an unrealistic amount of wants to pursue; therefore, ruling out what I don’t want helped me better decide what I want to accomplish with my life.

First, I decided against further pursuing a Spanish minor. I originally intended to become fluent in Spanish, so I could use the foreign language in my journalistic aspirations, but I found other, more important academic ventures that would be of more benefit for my future. If it hadn’t been for my journalism internship, I never would have realized that economics will be much more useful in the field.

Discovering keys to success in chosen career

I also discovered a type of work environment in which I do not thrive. I find that too many of my peers disregard this consideration when choosing a career. Everyone works better in different places, and my office in D.C. was not conducive to my working efficiently. In contrast, several of my co-workers accepted jobs after our internships, because that was their ideal work environment.

In addition, I found out what is not important for aspiring journalism students to accomplish in order to find a job — a 4.0. My entire academic career has revolved around perfecting my GPA, and my summer job taught me that GPA means nothing in the journalism world. Most important are my clips — the articles I write and submit to potential employers.

This entirely changed the way I viewed my time at college. While I still take my studies seriously, I spend more time on developing my reporting skills than in achieving all As. Disclaimer: This is not an invitation for you to neglect your studies, instead it’s an encouragement to investigate your desired career field and find out what is most important. Because in contrast, those vying for a spot in medical or graduate school must focus on their GPAs.

Honing in on happiness factors

This year I realized what is not important for my happiness. I understand that it sounds a little strange, but it’s the most critical thing I learned this past year. Growing up, I believed that my future career was the most important part of my feeling successful. On the contrary, my summer job showed me the importance of family and friendships. I now understand that the excitement my job gives me is further enhanced by surrounding myself with people I value, and it is those relationships that make me happy.

Finally, I learned that I no longer have to fear bad experiences, because in a way, they are more useful than good ones. I believe that the trials I endured this past year have shaped my future for the best; thus, “the only thing to fear is fear itself.”


My plans for the summer: They include reporting for a publication through the National Journalism Center or at Fox News in Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Macaela Bennett

Macaela Bennett

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