Finding a New Dream and Changing it—Again

I've always had a love-hate relationship with dreams—-or rather the whole concept of how often they can change. I remember little 7-year-old me blindly putting “teacher” as my future career, thinking it sounded a lot easier and less strange than being a scary doctor in a stale lab coat, (honestly, doctors still make me nervous). Eventually, once fifth grade and middle school hit, the best next thing I could think of was being a veterinarian. It involved working with animals and you got to be around cute little fluffsters basically 24/7, so what was there not to like? And I actually thought, for the first time, that I was going to stick to that dream because it just sounded so perfect. It made sense in every way especially for an introvert like me who found it much easier to get along with a four-legged creature than a person.

But, of course, high school came along and gave me a nice good kick into reality. I forgot that you actually had to go to school, as in join a vet school that would add four more years after a bachelor’s degree. In total, I would be doing eight years of school and basically give away two-thirds of my soul to pay for it. That did not sound appealing to me at all. Plus, science and I didn’t mix well. We just didn’t like each other at all.

So much to my horror, that vet dream dissolved pretty quickly after that and I got lost for a while there. The time was ticking, the future was nearing, and the expectations were piling up. I became more nervous for a future I couldn’t imagine. They say failing to reach a dream is one of the most horrible things that can happen, but I’ll say not knowing what to do with your life isn’t all that great either. You feel like you’re paralyzed in a race that has no clear finish line, while all these other people seem to run just fine. They have this look in their eye that screams they know what they’re doing and where they’re heading. And you don’t.

That ended up being most of my high school experience, fumbling around to find that one job I could hold onto and really see myself having . Frankly, it changed a lot! Once I realized my vet dreams were more of a kid fantasy, I moved on to animator. I found 2D and 3D animations to be pretty damn cool and really enjoyed doing little projects here and there. But once it became more of a hobby rather than something I could see myself doing every day, I decided video editor could be a possibility. Maybe help create films or shows that could one day be big. I ended up chalking it up as a pipe dream.

Once graduation started to become a lot more real rather than in the distant future, I officially started to get into full-on panic mode. I kept stumping myself with all these dreams that sounded perfect but weren’t lighting up a passion in my eyes like I saw in other students, whom I imagined had their crap together (but really do any of us ever have it together?). Either something wasn’t realistic or it just sounded much too boring for me to think I could handle it.

The only thing I was sure of was my love for writing. It’s been one of the greatest companions I’ve had since I could remember, that and reading. My two greatest passions that never left me, through thick or thin. That’s how I ended up with thinking that maybe, just maybe I could become a book editor. It utilized both of my favorite skills and it didn’t seem much too pricey in years. So it became official—-I would become an English major! I began applying to colleges, being the most clear-headed I felt in years. The pieces seemed to fall into place and the world suddenly became a little brighter. I was back in a race I thought I would never finish. And then (because life be like that) everything suddenly changed. Again. The wheels to my car of life squealed louder than ever and I could hear it making the sharpest turn I’ve ever felt (metaphorically speaking of course).

And all it took was one meeting with my academic counselor. I probably owe her a million thanks for opening my eyes the way she did. Because it led me to end up where I am now, studying to be a journalist, a career where I could use a mix of my skills.

In the meeting, she explained to me how broad of a field English was And that maybe I should think about being a little more specific. She then finally said the magic word—-journalism.

I’m going to be honest—-at first, I was skeptical. I mean c’mon! Me? A journalist? The girl who trips over words more than a dog wearing high heels? It sounded so crazy to me. I mean sure, I liked writing and yes, I liked hearing people’s stories but uhhh...it just didn’t seem to connect.

Yet there I was, actually questioning myself. For weeks. My friends would listen to me repeatedly ask for their opinion on whether they thought they could see me as a journalist. And like all the first times, they would usually say yes. I guess I just felt scared. Before, I had this great plan and all these future visions of me being this person and then suddenly, someone else decided to annoyingly force me to think about something else. Something that actually made sense. The career after all, made use of all the skills I loved, even video editing, which once was just a pipe dream. It felt terrifying and risky and much more different than I ever imagined, but it wouldn’t leave me alone.

I once read, “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough.” I couldn’t help but admit they were right. So I eventually took the step around my mid-senior year. I changed my major and that was that. My dreams all changed in a flash. But that’s the thing about dreams, isn’t it? They change and they evolve and they never finish. There’s always one after another but that’s the magic of it. Maybe it’s sort of scary how we can never officially have that one dream and always be happy with it or stick with it, but it’s what makes us better. Our constantly changing dreams push us to our limits and teach us to become the best we can be. Whether they’re little or big, they impact our lives and sometimes it’s sometimes in ways better than we ever imagined.