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Howard Chai

SFU Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

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A painted image of a person trying to rope in both the brain (on right) and the heart (on left). As a result the person is splitting from the middle.
What I have learned from my journey so far is that as much as the dream keeps me hungry and driven, the fear of not reaching that dream keeps me alert and hard-working.

I have this belief that everybody, whether or not they realize it, has a passion, and the key to finding it is in that place your mind drifts off to when you’re not paying attention in class. For me, that passion was Communications and writing. I realized it when I would catch myself thinking about writing my Communications papers. I was genuinely looking forward to writing about how we and the world converse, which is what Communications is to me. Yes, I am admitting that I enjoy writing academic papers.

My time at SFU began in Computing Science. I’ve always liked puzzles, and I viewed aspects of Computing Science as puzzles. Even though the struggle was very real, I respected the challenge and believed it would, in a time where technology was booming, lead me to a good job. But again, I was struggling. My academic status went from “good academic standing” to “academic probation” and then “required to withdraw” in the blink of an eye.

I was angry my hard work wasn’t paying off. I was stressed out and it was taking a real toll on my health. I was demoralized.

I went through the Back On Track (BOT) program, and because the program requires you to take courses outside of your major, I decided on a whim to take a Communications course. The following semester, I took another, and the semester after that, two more. I never stopped. This past summer, almost two and a half years after I took that first Communications course, the change I made in my head years ago finally became official as I became a declared Communications major. 

For me, deciding to leave Computing Science behind and fully embracing Communications was not difficult. I was met with difficulties along the way, but, at the same time, it was not difficult. I had found my passion and was choosing to follow it. Since then, my passion for Communications has only grown. Today, I have a singular vision of me as an editor by day and a writer by night and that is what I’m striving for. I want it so so bad. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing, and when I’m not thinking about writing, I’m looking for things to write about. I’ve become obsessed. 

Sometimes I fear I will fail to reach that dream. A quick Google search tells me this same fear is one of the most common reasons why people don’t follow their passions. While the nightmare of my writing never amounting to much of anything makes me feel like my heart is suffocating, the dream of me sitting down at a food court and realizing somebody two tables over is reading a book I wrote, and the fantasy of then seeing that novel unfold on the big screen exactly like how I envisioned it when I wrote it, makes me feel a happiness in my heart that I can only describe as indescribable. For every nightmare sequence I can think of, I have twice as many dream scenarios. And that’s what keeps me going. 

What I have learned from my journey so far is that as much as the dream keeps me hungry and driven, the fear of not reaching that dream keeps me alert and hard-working. I trust the fire that is my passion will lead me to success because, just in the last three months, I have done more to pursue my dreams than I ever thought about doing during my two years in Computing Science. At the same time, I know failure is a possibility. But then I think about the setbacks I’ve faced so far. With each setback, my hunger to succeed only grew and the fire within me burgeoned. 

This is the path I have chosen. At times it makes me anxious. I don’t know if I will succeed or fail, and maybe I’ll look back one day and wonder whether or not the other path would’ve led to even greater things for me, but not a day goes by where I’m bored, and as my favorite artist, Vincent van Gogh, once said, “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”

Beyond the Blog

About the Author

Author's front profile.

Howard Chai

SFU Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
Howard Chai is a fourth year Communications and Publishing student. He is a passionate writer and an aspiring editor who enjoys mining the world for meaning and beauty. All of his writing can be found on his personal blog.

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