In a world with no shortage of photographers both amateur and professional (300 million users on Instagram alone), Zoe Huff has an especially gutsy goal: become a photographer for National Geographic.
A high school senior in Maryland and winner of an FYC scholarship, Zoe brings not just a passion for photography but a heart for the world she sees through her lens. She wants to change people by invoking in them her same love for this beautiful place.
“I want to use my photography skills to encourage people to protect our earth,” she said. “I want to change behavior.”
This extra passion is exactly what National Geographic looks for in its photographers. Technical skill isn’t enough. You must also have a story to tell. And while Zoe has yet to decide on a major, she’s leaning towards a competitive choice: an environmentally related major with a minor in photojournalism. Many of National Geographic’s photographers hail from backgrounds in journalism, anthropology, sociology or psychology, fine arts, and sciences. Very few majored in photography, but took photo courses.
A filmmaker friend of mine once said that in the end, success boils down to this: Get the shot. Whatever it takes. Four hours’ hike through the rain. Breaking your drone in high winds over Hawaii. Lying with your chin in the dirt to get an angle on a kid climbing over your head. Get the shot.
If Zoe tackles her dream career the same way, she will achieve great success. And so far, she’s off to a great start. Using Find Your Calling to see how her interests match other careers, she also explored colleges and programs that could help her reach her photography goals. She is nervous, but undaunted.
“I finally found something I’d like to reach,” she said. “With hard work and dedication, I’ll accomplish something I love.”
What’s your calling? How can you “get the shot”? Take the same free Discovery Questionnaire that Zoe did and find your calling today. Her inspiring story is below.
“Choosing a career you don’t like yet makes tons of money isn’t the point.”
Zoe, when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was never positive what I wanted to do with my life. Chef, physical therapist, founder of a non-profit organization…. I assumed the perfect job would come along the way.
But now my aspirations to have an unusual career and make a difference in this world have led to my dream of becoming a National Geographic photographer. I’d love to go into the environmental field, using my photography skills to encourage people to protect our earth.
What is the biggest obstacle to pursuing your career?
Execution is my biggest obstacle. Becoming a National Geographic photographer is daunting. I’m nervous that it may be too unrealistic; I’m not sure how to pursue it. But I’m determined to reach my goal.
What career matches did you get on FYC?
Some career matches were in the categories of Human Services, Architecture and Construction, and Information Technology. The last two were surprises to me. With my passion for helping others, I understood Human Services, but I never imagined the others as possibilities for myself.
What are your three biggest fears about life during/after college?
My biggest fear is debt. I’d rather not be in debt for the rest of my life because I wanted to further my education and I don’t want debt to affect my quality of life after college. Another fear is choosing the wrong major. Also, choosing the right school is overwhelming as there are tons of colleges all over the country. I’d like to attend the perfect college for myself.
How would you encourage other students facing similar challenges?
Money has taken a great influence on many people, which is a mistake. Choosing a career you don’t like yet makes tons of money isn’t the point. Students should pick a career that they can grow with and love, a career that makes them happy and is not solely based on salary.
Find what you’re good at and love to do. Then never look back. Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. When you do what you love, you’ll never regret it.
There will always be roadblocks, but the one who truly wants to reach their goal is the one who surpasses them.
What is the best thing about Find Your Calling?
Find Your Calling helps undecided people! It acts as a career a guide to what you can do, showing you careers you might never have thought of. It gives us a way to find our true calling in life!
Find careers and schools now!
Have you found your calling yet? Log in to your recently updated Find Your Calling profile to see the skills you’ll need for your future career, plus the companies that are hiring. Don’t have a profile yet? Take the Discovery Questionnaire now! It’s quick and free. You’ll be exploring careers and colleges in no time.