You’re Not as Good as You Believe

I’ve had a lot of passions and hobbies throughout my life. I’ve tried my hand at photography, writing, meteorology, astrology, graphic design, and ghost hunting.

Every time I’ve adventured into trying a new hobby, my mother and grandmother have stood behind my back with a smile and pat on my back telling me that I’m “doing amazing” and that I’m “so good at it!”. Because of this, I spent years of my life believing that what I have enjoyed doing is what I’m truly good at.

From the immense encouragement from my parents and grandparents, I’ve come to think that I could make a living from what I’ve been procuring my time with. But, coming to Chicago has completely changed that.


There are so many people here who are amazing at what they do and because of that false sense of confidence I have had in my abilities, it has began to grow a shadow over who I am. I feel as though I’m not that great at what I’m passionate about anymore. My mother is a published poet and encouraged me to write from a very young age and because of her constant encouragement, I’ve grown to believe that I could be a writer. But, after reading many of the pieces coming from Columbia students and Chicago natives, I’ve come to realize I’m actually pretty shit at it. The scene in Joe Meno’s story “Midway” in which the main character’s mother carves a pumpkin for their school’s pumpkin carving contest, making them win every year reminded me of this. In a way, the misleading words of encouragement from my family has carved this false sense of confidence in my abilities. Chicago is full of talented people.

Walk down the street and you’ll find a struggling homeless man selling beautiful paintings and murals or an artist strumming his guitar on the North/Clyborn Red Line top. I see them and I think how amazing they are, living their lives doing what they love. And as of recently, I can’t see myself doing the things I “love”. I believe that I love what my hobbies are because I’ve grown up thinking I’m good at writing, photography, and graphic design instead of allowing myself to realize I’m not good at it and finding another passion. Chicago has given me a large perspective on myself, especially going to an arts school. Everybody has their passion, everybody has their “thing”. And sometimes, I find myself staring out at the skyline still wondering what my “thing” is. Hopefully as time goes on in this beautiful city, I’ll be able to find it. (Dylan Ward/CoS Student)


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