Chase What You Love

A few years ago, I did an alumni panel for incoming communications students at my dear old alma mater. The soon-to-be students and their parents asked us all sorts of questions about our backgrounds, degrees, career experiences after graduation, etc.

Since the panel was focused on the College of Communication, I mostly talked about my job and real-world experiences in Public Relations. But one father stopped me on my way out.

Worried Father: “You mentioned you double-majored in history. Can I ask why? My daughter wants to do the same thing, and I’m just not sure there’s any application for it. Do you use your history degree day-to-day?”

Me: “Not necessarily every day as part of my career. I pursued history as a passion – it was fun and kept me sane between other, more boring classes.”

*Pause, in which I suddenly feel the urge to say more.*

“Actually, I have found it very useful in my own writing. I’m working on several fantasy novels, and history provides great context for world-building and character development. I continue to draw inspiration from some of my old classes, so yes, in that sense, my degree is definitely applicable for my future publishing career.”

Worried Father: *With a look of dawning horror* Oh, this was SO not the right girl to ask about this topic. Why, oh, why didn’t I stop someone else?

Daughter: “See, Dad!” *hits Dad on arm and turns to me* “That’s exactly what I want to do!”

Me: *Wicked grin at finding a fellow writer* “I would highly recommend sticking with your plan. I loved history and, honestly, you’ll get a lot of use out of it in your own writing. By the way, here’s the info for the amazing studio where my crit group meets. We always welcome new writers!”

Never be afraid to pursue something you love simply because you don’t know if it’ll pay off. You owe it to yourself to try, and you’ll probably have tons of fun along the way!


  1. Haha, great story! So much for easing the anxiety of that worried father. =P

    I think double majors are a good idea, simply because (realistically) undergraduate degrees aren't exactly all that useful (especially in science; if you want to go anywhere, you need a Masters, and if you get a Masters, you're pretty much sending yourself on the path to a PhD). So you might as well get ahead of the game and do as much as possible with your bachelor's degree.

    Unfortunately, my elective space is pretty limited, so I can't do everything I want to do (e.g. I wanted to continue French after high school, but I have no space for it). Oh well.

  2. Hi Nicole! Oh my, I really love this post! So true, and inspiring, and funny! Makes me want to run out and get a history degree. But I sure do love history and I find all kinds of ways to discover marvelous details, stories, & emotions from history.

    I'm a fellow campaigner in Fantasy & YA. I'm not in your groups, but I wanted the fun of getting to know more writers. It's so great to meet you!

    I enjoyed reading about you in your ABOUT ME tab - you sound so friendly and wonderful! And I love your background! - I love maps, especially old ones.

  3. GK - I agree! I loved having history as a double major. Hopefully you can figure out how to squeeze in some fun electives.

    Brenda - Hi! Nice to meet you, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. Love your comments about history. I'm the same way - it's such a great source of inspiration. See ya 'round the Campaign!

  4. Great story! I tagged you on my blog:
    What are ten random things about you?

  5. This is great, Nicole! I would've said the same thing, as a fellow history major! And I love how you told the student where your writing group meets. That's so cool. Hope she makes it!

  6. Hey there fellow Fantasy writer who drives parents insane with his passion for history. I've found you in the Campaign and am following you. Happy to meet you.

  7. Callie - Hi there and thanks!

    TL - I hope so too. It was great to be able to point her to a great writing resource.

    Laila - Good to meet you, too!