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The Cliché of Finding Your Passion

Growing up, many times I heard people tell me time and time again that “College is the time to find your passion,” and yet as my college years grew closer, I felt like I couldn’t be further away from discovering mine. I spent so much time attempting to logically piece together what a “good” passion could be or what other people thought I should pursue that I completely missed the concept of following your passion. A passion is supposed to be something that makes you excited to wake up in the morning – something that drives you and inspires you like nothing else can.

Before arriving at USC, I did not believe the hype many had told me about how discovering your passion “changes everything,” for I naively thought nothing could really impact that much if I didn’t even know what it was already. Then one day (now looking back I wish I remember who it was) told me to follow the things that you are naturally drawn to and the rest will come. Sure enough, upon facing the daunting crowds of the Involvement Fair my first semester at USC, I signed up for everything that interested me even remotely, but the only club that I actually decided to look into was the same one that capture not only my mind but my heart as well: USC’s Fashion Industry Association (FIA).

And don’t think it was that simple – for it still took some time, almost a semester in fact, for me to really realize that the industry that was calling my name was that of fashion. I’m not sure if there was a particular moment when I realized that this was the industry I was meant for, but the time November came around and I attended the annual FIA Recruiter Reception, I stumbled across my first internship offer. When I received an email from a company I had only talked to for a brief amount of time at the recruiting event due to sheer intimidation and doubt that they would even consider me as a freshman, I was shocked and ecstatic. Upon going in for my training session, I was mesmerized by the office and the mere atmosphere of the working world I had just entered. It is safe to say that my first internship with Clique Media Group’s Who What Wear was an eye-opening, memorable experience, for when it came time for me to leave my position in May, my heart broke at the thought of never returning. It was then that I realized not only how much I had, of course, learned while being there, but more importantly, how much I truly loved everything I was doing – all on the business side of the fashion industry.

Thus, it is safe to say that I didn’t find my passion, but rather that my passion found me. I stumbled across an incredible opportunity in an industry that I hadn’t ever given much thought to before, but during my time there, I realized that it was probably the single most interesting thing to me. As I now reflect in hindsight, I realize I probably should have known that I would end up in working in fashion as I had always been the creative child who loved not only painting but spending hours at a time perfecting the outfits of her dolls. However, even more than that, for a majority of my life before college, my favorite place in the US was New York City, where I had travelled once before and had been utterly enthralled with the enormous stores, not only because of the clothes, but because of the ambience they radiated.

I know this may sound like a cliché, but often times you realize as you grow older that in life a lot of things are. For the time being, I am well aware that the business side of the fashion industry is my passion and I can’t wait to continue exploring it at my time at USC and afterwards. While I have been lucky enough to say now that I have held three internships in the industry, I have no idea where the future will take me – And that’s perfectly okay as this is the time to explore and test yourself above else. So now, I encourage not only freshman, but all college students, to try something new to challenge yourself in a way you never thought possible because, after all, you may find yourself stumbling upon something life-changing – your passion.


“Start by acting on the small things in life that excite you each day. These are the threads that will connect you to your path, your passion.” ~Ruben Chavez

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Posted on December 1, 2016 by Mariel Salem


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