Why Dreams Die.

            What do you want to be when you grow up? It was a question we were asked almost every year at the beginning of school when we were little. And kids would come up with some crazy and extreme answers like princess or president. Some were dead set on being doctors or policemen. But the point is we all had dreams. And throughout the years, those dreams started to change, and then they began to fade away. From the very beginning I knew I had big dreams. There were so many things I wanted to do and so many places I wanted to go, and my friends were the same way. But by the end of high school, my dreams were still burning so bright but I witnessed all of my friends lose sight of their own dreams. I sat back while watching these kids, who swore they were going to change the world one day, walk across a stage to receive a diploma with a new set of reality.  The same kid who four years ago had a plan to become president was now going to college for a business management degree even though he never once showed interest in anything except politics. I often wondered when did these kids forget about their dreams? It took me a year but I think I finally understand.

            The first reason as to why people lose sight of their dreams is because they begin to focus on money instead of happiness. The question “what do you want to be when you are older” quickly turned into “how much money did you want to make a year when you are older?” I remember I would go to my high school councilors office to discuss my college plans and what classes I needed to complete to get into certain colleges, and in the little waiting area there were booklets about professions. On the first page of each booklet was the money amount of what you would most likely earn if you were to choose this career. I would constantly hear girls talk about how they couldn’t wait to be 23 and driving a Range Rover with their dog in the front seat when four years ago they were the ones who were rambling on about how they couldn’t wait to do something earth shattering and world changing.

            The second reason is kids were discouraged. At the beginning of my senior year, all of the seniors were brought into the auditorium and we had our principle explaining to us that this was going to be the last chapter of our high school career. This was the time that we needed to get serious about our future. And I’ll never forget that he said “you need to look at what you love and what you are good at and then compare them until you find out what you should do with your life. If you have been dreaming about being a doctor but you hate science, then you’re going to need to pick a different career.” When he said this, my whole body just kind of froze because I couldn’t actually comprehend that he was really saying this. We had all been told the previous year that we could be, and do, whatever we want as long as we wanted it enough. While it does not  sound right that someone who does not love science would want to be a doctor, it could still happen. Their determination to become a doctor just had to outweigh their hate for science. If you’re not good at science, there are things you could do to improve. You could hire a tutor, or visit professors during office hours multiple days a week. Or who knows, maybe you hated science because your school didn’t have any good science teachers but when you get to college you end up falling in love with the subjects. You might not be good at what you love right now but you could always get better at it. Instead of preaching improvement, our principle preached giving up. I still wonder how many kids’ dreams he destroyed that day with that speech.

            The third and final reason is because of time and effort. When we are little, we really did not think about the risks or the things we would have to endure to accomplish our dreams. We just knew what we wanted and we expected to get it. But then you find yourself sitting in your calculus class during the last year of high school and you realize this is it. This is when your life begins and when you no longer have a small amount of responsibilities. And it scares you. Because now you see the class load you have to take on for your degree. You see the extra four years of school to be a doctor. And then internship and residency, and there is so much you have to accomplish that you start to doubt if it is even going to be worth it because you won’t be accomplishing your dreams until you’re 30. Is this really what you want? Can you really do this?

            Let me tell you a secret. The time will pass whether you are working to be a doctor or you end up changing your mind and decide to get a business degree. So think about what makes you happy. Find out what your ultimate dreams are and then do not give up. Don’t worry about the money you would be making or the time it would be taking you to accomplish them. And don’t you dare let anyone discourage you because you can do whatever you put your mind to. You just have to want it enough.