4:05 p.m., Feb. 11, 2013

Freedom fuels freelancing dreams

All my life I grew up with my mom saying I could be anything I wanted to be, so as I became older, I never really considered having a “real job.” I wanted to travel; I wanted to play music; I wanted to act; I wanted to have the flexibility to do anything I wanted.

As I got closer to graduating high school and attending college, I wasn’t quite sure the direction I was heading. I knew I would go to college because I had scholarships to Laramie County Community College, but I really didn’t know what to study.

Editor searches for field of study

I knew I couldn’t do anything in the medical field. I knew I didn’t want to do anything with agriculture, and I knew I wasn’t cut out for teaching. So the question was “what would I do with my life?” I knew I loved music and other sorts of art, especially photography. I wasn’t overly excited to go through another few years of college and still be in Cheyenne.

After some thinking, I decided to go into journalism, so I went into the mass media program to work toward that. My thought process was this: Get a journalism degree and then freelance write and photograph music while playing in a band and traveling. That way I would have the flexibility to be artistic and musical as much as I wanted. I thought this was a great life plan.

My mom totally supported me in following my dreams, but what surprised me was all the people who said, “Oh, you will never get a job that way,” and “You will end up starving,” etc. OK, yes, I know it’s hard to get a job as a musician, and freelancing takes a lot of work, but so does becoming a doctor or lawyer. Granted those jobs have a pretty guaranteed future and are well-paying, but a lot of schooling, effort and work go into those jobs. Probably about as much work as it would be to become a successful musician. It just seems those jobs are considered “real jobs” whereas a lot of people seem to view artistic careers, like being a musician or photographer as, I don’t know, “fake jobs.”

Editor offers different perspective on parents' dreams

Now I see where parents want their children to be successful and have a future, and, yes, jobs in the medical field are very stable, but if you are going into a career just because everyone around you is saying you will never make it doing something that you love and are inspired to do, I think those are the wrong reasons.

If you work hard at what you want, you can achieve anything. Yes, becoming a musician takes lots of time and work. You must practice; you must get out there; you must write, create and record music; you must tour. But becoming a doctor also takes a lot of work and time, schooling, practicing and degrees. Maybe I am wrong for wanting to follow my crazy dreams, and maybe I will end up unsuccessful and in a cardboard box and will have to find a different career path, but at least I will try to make it. The way I see it, many successful musicians and freelance photojournalists exist, so why can I not be one of them? I guess I won’t know until I try.

I do know I would much rather work hard at what I really love and be poor than work just as hard at what I despise and be really rich. I believe whatever you work hard at, you can achieve. I think it’s dumb when parents force their children to do what they don’t want to do. Following your dreams and being happy are much more important than doing what would make other people happy.

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