“Follow your bliss,” was the by- word in the ‘60s and some of us did just that. We have Joseph Campbell to thank for the phrase – or to blame, depending on the results. Now it seems that Campbell’s idea is being displaced by a crescendo of advice to the young -- get a job, any job, and make some bucks, as many as possible.
There are several missing terms in these words of adult wisdom,. One is “satisfaction.” Another is “passion.” But they are not totally drowned out. They are the words I kept hearing in a video based on conversations with Classics majors who had gone on to careers outside that field. They are doctors, lawyers, clergy and people from finance and the creative arts. They all seem to love what they are doing and to value their undergraduate work in Classics.
It’s really worth watching, and sharing with students.
The department of Classics at Princeton produced the video as an antidote, I suppose, to all the job, jobs, jobs rhetoric. But it carries a wider message – that even now, one can study what one cares most intensely about, and build a career that is genuinely satisfying. It’s OK to be passionate about something.
The video is worth watching –no, it’s worth imitating. It’s not just good PR for a department. Similar conversations with alumni can open up a dialogue that needs to take place in many departments right now. “Passion” is the leitmotif. “You can do it,” is the message. Satisfaction in college and beyond is the not-impossible goal.