French literature major for a pre-law student—why?!” My loving but relentlessly pragmatic dad was actually one of many to question my major back when I was a sophomore in Arts & Sciences in the early ’90s.
This choice was a balance between practicality and passion—an evaluation that resurfaces during many of life’s chapters.
The pandemic, for example, has forced and inspired so many of us to change careers and reinvent our professional selves at this dynamic juncture in history.
Many of us find ourselves entering and re-entering the workforce at various life stages. Younger people, too—including my own teens currently exploring their college options—are feeling pressure to specialize early in specific areas of study, and to back up their selections with focused experiences at greener ages and stages.
My Cornell choices and where they led my career illustrate that pragmatism and passion do not have to be like a seesaw, where increasing one diminishes the other. You can turn something you love into something to live on, instead of the other way around.