Dreams, goals, aspirations; we all have them. We all have an ideal life and future for ourselves. We’ve been developing these visions since we were kids.
My dreams have changed a lot over the years. When I was a freshman, I wanted to be a physical therapist. Why? Because first of all, it pays pretty well, and second, I was a student athlete at the time who was bizarrely fascinated by injuries, and enjoyed helping people.
Needless to say, I’m no longer a freshman and I no longer want to do that. But right now, I’d love to pursue photography after high school. My mom always asked, “Well what’s stopping you?” And then I remembered that I was often discouraged from people and teachers at school, saying that photographers are a dime a dozen and they’re disposable and replaceable. Those words did not sit well with me; being told I shouldn’t turn a hobby that I’m skilled at into a profession *insert eye roll at the hypocrisy of telling kids to chase their dreams*. Then there are the people who told me that I should still go to college for it, but sometimes I feel like they don’t understand that you don’t need to go to school for photography when it’s all experienced based, not lecture. I’d rather become an intern to gain experience. If I ever had a question or had to learn something new, I’d find YouTube videos or just google it. Why should I dump thousands and thousands for dollars into school when I don’t need it? Isn’t that the exact definition of wasting money? Spending money on things you don’t need?
But more importantly, what else is preventing people from chasing their dreams besides discouragement?
The situation gets worse when a student finishes high school and still doesn’t know what to do with their life; maybe they’re feeling pressure to go to school for something they don’t care about for the sake of pleasing others, maybe it doesn’t fit into their budget, or they could just be scared to say no. Maybe a whole other set of factors could come to play before that, like getting good grades and being properly motivated. But what else is stopping or scaring them?
Hannah Jane Wilson (‘18) is still unsure with what she wants to do, but she does want to pursue a college education: “I love government and debating, and at the moment, I think I might be a lawyer or politician.” She also has separate ambitions to pursue, “Either during or after school I want to travel. I see myself traveling a lot in the future.” Of course, there are plenty of situations where this ideal could come to a halt: “Getting good grades, getting a job to pay for college and travelling, really just getting into a good college,” says Wilson, “Every good or successful job is about connections so I’ve been working a lot on the extra curricular activities to get myself out there, and to look good for colleges.”
Nick Knightly (‘17) wishes to be a successful businessman one day, “I want to have my own company, and live comfortably in life.” When asked what would prevent him from pursuing this, he said himself: “Being lazy, honestly. If I don’t put in the work, I won’t get where I want to be.” He also mentions an interesting hobby he’s always wanted to try: “Polo. The game with horses and balls. It always looked cool and fun to play.”
Patty Andersen (19’) has always wanted to do things like ride horses, own a trampoline, and go out to eat more often, but as for her future career, she still has no clue what to do: “I’m interested in a lot of stuff, but it ranges from really specific math and sciences to really specific lingual and humanities stuff, and I really don’t know how to hone that down.” Although she doesn’t exactly want to be famous, she would like to have a recognizable name: “I want to be known, but the most important thing for me is to be happy in life. I obviously don’t want to be destitute, I just want to be happy.” Her plan is to go to college, even though she’s not exactly certain about what she wants to do, but there’s an issue that could get in the way: “Money. My family as a whole isn’t super wealthy, and my parents don’t have anything saved for me to go to college, and whenever I ask about it, they’ll be like ‘no problem, we’ll have the money in a few years’ and I’m like ‘dad, that’s not how it works’.” But the cost of education is what really infuriates her: “I think [college] is way too expensive. It makes me quite angry… education should be something that everyone has access to, if not for free, then at least cheap.”
Ben Harriton (‘18) currently wants to go to school for business and marketing: “I would like to either start my own marketing firm or a consulting firm to help businesses succeed.” He prefers colleges with small class sizes and a strong community, “I don’t want a party school, but I also don’t want a school where nothing fun happens… I really like Bentley University, but I haven’t looked at too many places yet.” Although Harriton hasn’t exactly felt discouraged, he does have lingering thoughts about how his dream could be smashed: “Not getting into college; it’s an irrational fear, but I guess a real worry is that I won’t be able to get a job in my field of study.”
Remember, if someone ever discourages you from pursuing something you love, don’t tolerate it. If someone says you don’t have the skill or talent to do something, prove them wrong. Show people what you’re made of and don’t let people’s words get to you. If finances are worrying you, recognize that almost everyone who goes to college takes out loans and applies for financial aid; there’s nothing wrong with that. And if you feel like you are your own worst enemy, develop good habits (both mentally and academically), and remind yourself of your goals and how to achieve them effectively.