Pursue a career for happiness, not jobs

Aidan Sheedy, Copy Editor

Illustration by (Sarah Hardiman)

As I ended my first semester of college, I had branded myself as a journalist. A first-year in the 3+1 Communications program and an editorial board member of the school’s student newspaper, I became known by many as the kid who’s always taking photos and writing for The Quinnipiac Chronicle.

So what is this article’s purpose? I am no longer a journalism major. Instead, I will be pursuing a career in my true, lifelong passion — teaching.

Ever since I was about 6 years old, I was a teacher. I remember going out of my way to help the kindergarteners learn how to swing or use the monkey bars during recess. In the classroom, I would finish my work quickly
to have time to help my classmates who were struggling.

As I grew older, I took that mindset more seriously.On a sixth-grade overnight field trip, I spent most of
my time hanging out with an autistic student. I would have supported him no matter what, but his usual aide could not come on the trip with him, so I took it upon myself to make sure he was comfortable and safe.

In high school, my first job was as a baseball umpire for the local Little League program. My main goal was to make sure the kids were smiling and having fun. Between innings, I would warm up with them and talk to them about playing varsity or their favorite MLB players.

Today, I have two part-time jobs with the YMCA. During the school year, I am a teacher at a program called “School’s Out,” which provides child care for parents who either leave for work early or stay late. For the last four summers, I have been a camp counselor working primarily with kids ages 7-10.

All I did over spring break was work in the School’s Out program with some of the most wonderful and brilliant kids I’ve ever met. Days after I returned to campus, all I could think about was how happy that job and the kids made me.

That’s when it dawned on me — I need a career that prioritizes my happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I
would’ve been a great journalist, but would I have been happy?

My only goal in life is to have a family. I picture myself in a similar role to my father, a teacher who makes time to spend with his children at home while doing everything in his power to make his students happy.

This lifestyle would be impossible if I continued into the world of journalism. Most news writers and editors work from home now. A study by the Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford found that 79% of news organizations are committed to being remote-only.

I couldn’t live like that. It would also be unfeasible to maintain a separation of work and family. The on-call readiness of a journalist was also a detriment, as I am someone who needs to have room for personal time.

I want others to think of this as a mature change and not a rash decision. When I told my friends and professors, the most common reaction I got was, “Wait really? Why?” and “Since when have you wanted to be a teacher?” But one reaction from a professor stood out to me.

They sat down next to me and said the following: “I wish you talked to me about this. I could’ve talked you out of it.” That is not a response anyone going through a career change wants to hear. After a week of turmoil, guilt and regret, the last thing I want is to feel that again.

Although the intention may have been different in their head, it made me feel as if I’m making the wrong decision. I was very disappointed to hear that from a respected professional in the journalism field, but I kept reminding myself that I was making the right choice.

I am eager to absorb all the new information it takes to become an elementary school teacher. Any students thinking about a new career, just know that whatever decision you make is what is right for you. There may be people that you’ll surprise, but this is your life and only you know what is best for you.