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Why It’s Ok to Not Know What Your Passions Are

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

No one knows what they’re doing, you’re fine 

No one ever discusses how hard it is to come into your passions. The idea that everyone truly finds something that both piques their curiosity and excitement is a tough expectation to have of the world. There’s so much pressure in trying to find your niche interests, especially when they’re actually fleeting the majority of the time. The things that made you feel content at a younger age will vary wildly from what you want to explore more deeply at an older age. Passions grow with you and for you, and finding the right ones are often a rarity. So why is finding them so heavily preyed upon?

In my own experiences with finding my passions, I at first thought I loved science and biology. While I based my whole career and future on the prospect of being a doctor, I completely ignored the glaring red sign that told me I actually hated many aspects of those subjects. What I truly loved was history and English, and as I began to explore these topics further, I found a love for sociology, policy and social justice. This process has taken years and is not even remotely close to being complete. Every day I learn new things about the world and myself that encourages me to keep discovering at a deeper and attuned level.

The cycle of crossing old passions off a list and adding more to it is exhausting. You feel as if you have to start all over and rip open a new part of yourself. This is a part of you that feels impossible to find, yet holds the power to connect yourself to a more self-fulfilling life. Putting yourself first helps open up new worlds to filter interests into, but this does not particularly mean that what you discover has to be an unearthing realization. It can be small, like the fact that you like to paint. There’s an underlying meaning behind why you like to paint, and a whole realm beyond that.

The pressure to keep the desire and motivation to keep working on the things you discover is difficult. There are going to be days where the things that fueled you one day don’t do so the next. This variation within yourself is expected and necessary to continue on the road. You’re allowed to grow. While your passions and what drives you each day will develop with you, there’s always negativity when they start to change. However, continuing self-exploration will only give you greater benefits in the long run. So be easy on yourself, don’t force something that isn’t meant to fit, and keep moving towards what gives you the energy to show up.

Katie Wilberding

Wisconsin '25

Katie is currently a freshman at UW-Madison majoring in English and Political Science. When not studying she enjoys reading, painting, writing, and riding horses.