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How to find your passion

Many people struggle in finding their goal in life. Camille Van den Bogaert once felt that her life was going nowhere. That was until she found her purpose and set goals in her life. Here, she shares her story on how you can find your passion.

For those who are lost

You there: stop. Are you happy with where you’re standing right now? And I don’t mean behind your screen reading this. I mean, are you satisfied with your life and purpose. Not crazy happy, but do you feel like you are on your way? 

Camille Van den Bogaert during her studies in Amsterdam

“Do what you love”. “ Be who you are”. “You only live once”. Whether told by a parent, friend or the internet, we should be enjoying life and aspire to what we want to do. But are you? Because I found that in life, it is easy to get carried away and end up somewhere far from where you wanted to be. Here I will tell you how I changed from being an average, lost student to an aspiring art director, graphic designer and blogger. When going after what you really want, three obstacles stand in your way: yourself, society and other people. 

One day I was walking around on my University campus where I studied, and felt like an imposter. I was 20 and I was going nowhere. Not anywhere near where I wanted to be. Not for lack of trying, it was already my third discipline in the last two years. Being an ambitious person, I underwent an existential crisis. I’m not one for labelling things, but I literally did not see the purpose of my life anymore. However, from the outside, everything seemed fine. For most. After all, I had lots of friends, free time to go out, studies which piqued my interest, a place of my own. What on earth was the matter with me? Why could I not just be freaking happy? 

Everyone was going somewhere.

I could see where my life was taking me. Party every night, drunk. Meanwhile, study for exams on subjects that are interesting yet did not set me alight, just to get a piece of paper. Only to end up in a company performing in a job anyone could do. Then, get drunk with friends laughing about who I once dreamed to be. 

You see, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had this maddening addiction to express myself by creating things. Whether that be through words or images. I did not want to end up doing a job as a manager somewhere in the corporate world. However, I never had any art education. My creativity had long been disregarded back in my high school and university years. Did I have what it takes?

A lot of people are lost. They want something, yet do not dare seize it. The version of who they are is so different from who the person they want to be. Only two ways to handle this, flee or fight. When one does not find it possible to become who they want to be, they flee. From getting drunk to addictions, to even suicide. The other option is to fight. Usually, this happens when one sees the opportunity. Let me tell you this, everything is possible (unless, of course, you want to become an alien). It all just depends on what you want to sacrifice and how patient you want to be. 

Another thing nobody is born as the person they aspire to be. Stop making excuses such as “I do not have the time” or “I don’t believe in myself”. If you don’t find your passion, then who will? Unfortunately, this mad world keeps on spinning. And no one is waiting for you.

That moment I walked around the campus, I decided to take fate into my own hands. So if you feel lost in life like I did, let me advise you. Stop. Take two days off. The first obstacle is yourself. 

man crossing the bridge with his bike in Amsterdam
When you find your passion, don’t be afraid to grab it

I took two days off, where I had no obligations. Just me and the silence. During this time, I had the liberty to do what I want. This is crucial. Take two days off and note down what you choose to do. For me, it was creative writing, drawing, researching ideas, and catching up on things like filmmaking, art and literature. The activities you perform are usually things you do naturally. Find your passion. Make these activities your goal! For whenever others bring you down, you will need to keep going. When Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, he kept going. Without any hope of getting back to the same level, he continued because he did it naturally. 

From there, I decided I wanted to become an art director and a writer. During the next six months, I looked up for schools where I could develop these skills. Which brings me to the other two obstacles. The other two obstacles are society and the people around you. 

Society loves to preach silly quotes. But always has a particular “expectation tag” on them. Do what you love, yet earn a good living. Be who you are, but don’t be too different. You only live once, yet be successful. We live in this “happy” world, where everything needs to be perfect. Where we always need to show we’re amazing. Screw that. Dare the impossible and fail epically. Get out of your comfort zone. Dare to admit you made a mistake and keep going. Do not get imprisoned by societal expectations, for people who actually “made it” never followed its rules. Some never earned a university degree, others depressed for years. And so it goes on. 

After six months, I found a school I could picture myself at, in a city I knew no one. Which brings me to the last obstacle. People. Some around you will want you to stay exactly the way you are. Others cannot imagine who you could become. Or maybe just don’t want you to. Screw them. If three years ago I told those people what I would become now, nobody would have believed me. If you feel lost in what you are doing now but know what your passion is, just do it. Those who actually matter will stay. In the end, we are all alone. All of your friends will go their own way at some point. Your life will change, and those worth having around are those who value your friendship enough.

Will friendships change? Yes. Will they end? No. Have a purpose in life, don’t make other people your goal.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: A general view of Oxford Street during the Oxford Street Christmas Lights switch on event at Oxford Street on November 06, 2018 in London, England.
Find your passion! I was in London for a design workshop where I won a prize
(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

Three years ago, I arrived in an advertising and design school in a city where I knew no one. Being in an environment where you have to start all over again has not been easy. I, an aspiring creative, arrived with only mad ideas and no skills to prove it. I had to continually work on becoming better. In the meantime, I’m working on side projects to get noticed. Living in between two cities, these three years have been a challenge. But it has been worth it. Finally, I get to do what I love. Even when things get rough, I know I will keep doing what I do naturally. Create.

Three years later, I’m a third-year student in Advertising and Digital Design, getting ready to do an internship abroad. Meanwhile, I get to do workshops in Brussels, Shanghai, and London, where I won a prize! Alongside this, I own a blog, Alphabet of Our Time, which has been read in over 25 countries. From being a usual blond party girl with no purpose to this, it has been a journey. More importantly, I became the person I wanted to be. Human nature is never satisfied. It has to keep going up, like Gatsby would say. But I will get there, for now, I believe in where I am going. 

So, in the end, you need to remember this: find your passion, make your passion your goal, dare to stand alone, and go after it no matter what. Be patient and work hard. Every weird little step will get you where you need to be. The silly quotes are right, you just need to rip off the “expectation tag”. 

Dare to become who you want to be. It’s YOUR life. No one will live it for you. 

Finding your passions. After her studies in Amsterdam.
When you find your passion, a new journey begins

Camille has become a freelance graphic designer with an extensive portfolio, operating in Amsterdam and Belgium. Also, she isn’t the only one that has struggled to find their purpose in life. George Bell went through the same journey, like Camille, fought through mental health issues to find his life goals. We also have an anonymous account by a young man in understanding his mental health amid his battle with anxiety

Camille Van Den Bogaert
Camille Van Den Bogaert

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