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Find Your Path
Q: I just graduated from college and am moving to Boston for an internship. But I've realized that what I really want to do is start my own business working with artists in Africa—which is not remotely related to my degree in public health. How can I believe in my passions instead of feeling like I'm setting myself up for disaster?
—Philistar Bonyo, Kisumu, Kenya

Dear Philistar, I live by the saying "Nothing is wasted." Your studies and that internship—combined with your passion—will serve you if you squeeze every ounce of learning from them. I may be a researcher, but I attribute a lot of my success to my years of bartending, waiting tables, and working the night shift in customer service, and to stints as a social worker and a teacher. These jobs taught me about empathy and human behavior.

All this is to say that your internship may not be a detour. Keep growing and stretching, and while you're interning, start reaching out and talking to people who are doing what you love. Make connections and plan. Then go for it: Pursue your passion. If it's what you're called to do, it's worth risking failure. And when you hit roadblocks, think about how you can use your unique skills and experiences—your research chops, for example—to better set yourself up for success.

Theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman wrote: "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Go come alive!
—Brené Brown, PhD, author of Daring Greatly