Turning Your Passion Into Your Profession

Guest Correspondence

Photo courtesy Ringling College

In an article on www.forbes.com, Steve Olsher wrote, “We’re often told that if we pursue our passion and do what we love as a career, we will, to quote Confucius, never have to work a day in our life.”

At Ringling College of Art and Design, we are guiding our students as they turn their passion into their profession. And these are not just any professions, but highly marketable and in-demand professions with some of the most sought-after companies and brands worldwide.

The creative skills our students are mastering today — visual communication, design thinking, and even virtual reality — are the energy sources of our future. So, what our students at Ringling College are learning today will fuel the world in a whole new way for years to come.

For many of our students, when they step onto Ringling’s campus for the first time, they have already discovered their passion. It is then our job to give them the education and skill sets they need to translate that passion into a lucrative career.

In this new series of columns, we will take a deep dive into the 13 majors offered at Ringling College of Art and Design and learn more about how we are preparing our students to become the next generation of creative visionaries. 

The first step in the process, of course, is discovering your true passion, a process that may happen suddenly or over the course of many years.

Erika Andersen, founding partner of Proteus International, notes in Forbes that while finding your passion is a good starting point, there are other things to consider when setting out to turn that passion into a profession. “When you find something that you are passionate about; something that you’re really good at; and something that can drive your economic engine by providing a unique value to people, you might just have found your professional calling,” she said.

A study from the Deloitte University Press (www.entrepreneur.com) quotes reports that up to 87.7% of America’s workforce is not able to reach their full potential because they lack a passion for their work. “Your passion should be the thing you enjoy and for which you are naturally wired to excel,” Jacqueline Whitmore wrote, adding there is an important difference between a hobby and a passion, and it is crucial that you differentiate between the two when considering a career.

For example, for some, playing computer or video games may just be a fun way to pass the time. While for others, a Cintiq tablet or worldbuilding may be the gateway to unleashing their boundless creativity, their passion, that with the right nurturing and skill sets could translate into a rewarding and highly profitable career.

Ringling College offers a variety of state-of-the-art tools so students may build upon their passion, including: INDEX (Industry Experience at Ringling College), providing students with professional and experiential opportunities; Makerspace, a collection of cross-disciplinary studios on campus; and Ringling College Studio Labs, a 36,000-square-foot professional filming and post-production complex.

It is because of tools and resources such as these and the overall quality of our programs that students and graduates from Ringling are attracting the attention of today’s cutting-edge companies.

Electronic Arts, one of the leading interactive entertainment companies in the world, currently employs 31 Ringling students and alumni. One of their recruiters stated, “When we see the Ringling degree attached to a candidate, we immediately take notice.” And as Ken Maruyama, former executive director at Sony Pictures Imageworks, notes of Ringling College, “The genuine passion for creativity here is at a higher level than any other school from which we recruit.”

And, yes, it all does begin with passion. As local author Stephen King wrote, “Yes, I’ve made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it … I have written because it fulfilled me … I did it for the buzz … I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”

Dr. Larry Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art & Design.

Photo courtesy Ringling College

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