Stay Free

| May 15, 2014 | 2 Comments

For the past few years, I’ve been writing thoughts on this here website. If you’ve clicked on any of my hundred-ish past posts, or even just this one, I thank you. But this isn’t about you. If I didn’t write here, I’d be off writing much of the same stuff (but probably more about soccer) on some blog of my own to a much smaller audience. I enjoy writing; if Culture Shock paid me (and I’m willing to listen to offers), I would never leave. But they don’t pay me, and graduation beckons, so I am forced to find places that will pay me for my nonsense.

This is hard, because though the internet features tons of writing, no one has really figured out a good reliable way to make money off of it. It’s difficult to do something that doesn’t make money until you have money. I’m a college graduate, which means I don’t have money. I’m lucky enough to have parents that supported me this far, but that cannot and will not last forever.

Search BU’s job board or Craigslist for writing positions, and you’ll find a lot that require previous experience. About the only jobs that don’t require said experience are listed as “content creators.” That is, not writers, but the folks who churn out four “listicles” a day on some Buzzfeed knockoff. #Viral. This isn’t writing, and I do not want to do this. But then, I also do not want to starve. Priorities, I suppose. I’m told that I should work on expanding my personal brand. Coca-Cola is a brand. I am trying (unsuccessfully) to be a person.

Somewhere in my head, I knew what I was getting into when I got into it. Journalism is not a thriving field in 2014, nor was it in 2011. And, somewhere in my head, I didn’t care. There were concerns more important than money, many of which I still have.

As a college graduate, I am the perfect audience for today’s popular mantra “do what you love.” Howard Thurman put it this way: ”Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” These are noble ideas, and the world would be a better place if everyone could follow that advice. But what do you do when the things that make you come alive don’t correlate with the things that help you stay alive? What do you say to the millions and billions who do the unlovable labor that the world, yes, needs?

I don’t have good answers to these questions. It’s entirely possible that my college-age idealism will be beat out of me by the so-called real world. But I hope it doesn’t.

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Category: Campus Culture, featured

Ryan Brister

About the Author ()

Ryan is studying journalism in the college of communication. He hails from Rochester, New York, and is slowly growing tired of explaining that it's really quite far from NYC. He watches far too much sports and likes to think of his life as a really long (and occasionally boring) book. His guilty pleasures include most of the music from the 1980s and every movie Sylvester Stallone ever starred in.

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  1. Re: the last line, it better not. The world needs people like you (who are so so so good at what they love), like Thurman says. Thanks for being so fantastic, and I better see your writing in the coming years.

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