How I rediscovered my purpose

QJ gave me the opportunity I so desperately needed

Ben discusses how The Journal helped him rediscover his purpose.

I found the light at the end of the tunnel.

Things were dark for a long time. I’d convinced myself nothing I’d done in my four years at Queen’s meant anything besides my friendships. I believed I was staring down the barrel of an uncertain future, armed only with a ‘useless’ degree.

I genuinely used to hate it here at Queen’s. I hated working so hard for my marks. I hated not having the social life I wanted. I hated fighting my mental health—you can only lose so many battles before your motivation, confidence, and happiness evaporate.

I was depressed and directionless. I spent months, maybe even years, living as a shell of the person I know myself to be. I spent my time living in the past and the future because I believed the present had nothing to offer me. I know I’m not the only one.

Applying to be Volume 148’s Opinions Editor put me on the right track. I’ve always been passionate about writing, but I’d dropped the hobby while treading water in my psychology classes. I threw my hat in the ring, hoping the job could help me find my spark.

Despite an interview marred by technical difficulties, The Journal took a chance on me. Being hired gave me the opportunity to explore my interests while being part of something bigger than myself. Working at QJ helped me rediscover my purpose.

Now here I am.

Back in 2020, if you’d told me I’d be returning to Queen’s for a fifth year as the Editor in Chief of The Journal, I would’ve laughed in your face.

For a long time, I believed leaders never needed help. I bought into the fallacy that you can’t help others until you help yourself. There’s some truth to that, but  growing into your surroundings with other people is also part of the process.

This last year on Volume 149 has made me a better person. While I’ve learned to give myself compassion, our discussions and stories have reinforced how I can extend this kindness to other people, too.

Allyship isn’t just how we talk to people but also how we talk about them.

If you can relate to anything I’ve written, I encourage you to put yourself out there. Find what you’re passionate about—or maybe used to be passionate about—and take a chance. You have the power to write your own story, even when things are bleak.

Maybe it’s applying to work at The Journal. Maybe it’s getting serious about that company you’ve dreamed of starting. Maybe it’s re-committing yourself to your studies. Whatever your passion is, follow it the best you can. Don’t give in to your insecurities.

I’d be lying if I didn’t still give into mine sometimes. Every day isn’t perfect, but I feel so lucky to have found the light when things were dark. I promise you can find it too.

The future is bright—you just have to look.

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