High school is over.
That sentence didn’t quite strike me, until it was said aloud. If it wasn’t mentioned, it wasn’t real. I still imagined myself waking up to the same routine, going to the same place every day. In high school, I found comfort in friends and even classmates whom I’ve spent years of schooling with.
When I was in high school, people saw potential in me. The praise I received for my English assignments led people to believe a career in writing wasn’t too farfetched. That reassurance was always there during the times I doubted myself. We all believed if talent was present, then excellence was easily attainable.
I’ll miss how secure everything seemed in high school. Idealism was never higher than when a teacher would ask the emblematic question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The answers from my classmates differed. A classmate wanted to be a doctor, while the other hoped to become a diplomat. When one is in high school, the real dream isn’t the occupation, but it’s becoming somebody of importance, coupled with the noble motive of wanting to help and improve lives of people.
Not as easy
The yearning for significance resonates with every adolescent. It’s difficult for people to accept their desires can’t be fulfilled. There are certain realities that are difficult to get accustomed to. This summer, I realized my dream of becoming a writer isn’t as easy as I thought. When I was in fourth year, my goal was to be accepted into my choice university as a creative writing major, and from there, I had the notion that becoming a writer would be a breeze. It’s not like that, is it? There’s a beginning and an ending. I’m at the beginning of my dream—I am going to be a freshman at the university I wanted. The question is, “How do I reach the ending?”
Point A to point B
The middle is the part I’ve always tried to avoid. It’s the reality that dreams aren’t as simple as point A and point B. There are points connected by other points and those other points are connected by other points, and so on. Will these points still lead me to where I want to go?
There is a vast amount of possibilities to get to my dream, and I hadn’t even been aware these possibilities even existed! I’ve only recently realized the transition period is the most frightening one. Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, in his book “Existentialism and Human Emotions,” says: “Man is nothing, but he makes of himself.” What am I making of myself? I pondered. I want to be a writer; however, I’ve barely written anything I believe has any real substance. I know friends who have been spending their whole lives preparing for their future professions. I pondered on. I want to be writer, yet I’m not really taking action. What does that say about me? I chose to pursue a degree in Creative Writing to help me progress as a writer.
For a while, I thought that would automatically instill me with a distinct style and creativity that would put me a cut above the rest. My assumptions were completely off. A great writer needs a lot more than knowledge and guidance. A great writer needs practice, epiphanies, inspirations and experiences. I will need to venture to find my voice as a writer, a voice that will distinguish me from others. I might find it a few months from now while studying for an exam, or I might need to climb mountains, and maybe through hiking I will not only reach geographical peaks, but literary ones. I might have to take a job as a real estate agent or as a low-level employee at a renowned corporation, and find some meaning in my everyday routine. I might have to burn bridges, create some, or just learn new ways to get around. I might do the most outlandish things and still be as clueless as I am now. Assuming I do find my voice, I hope I’m able to utilize it to its greatest extent.
There’s a reason many people lose sight of what they want to achieve. They don’t become content with mediocrity; they simply succumb to it. Some fear rejection, exhaustion, and even humiliation. So people do what feels safe. Worse, they become lazy and let their dreams fade away.
Many people my age haven’t really figured what they want, myself included. What do students in management want to manage? What branch of law do pre-law students want to specialize in? What do creative writing students want to write? Fiction, poetry, screenplays? I realized, the future doesn’t answer these questions, we do. We define ourselves and the possibilities before us. Are the realities we fear as terrifying as we believe they are? Maybe not. There are realities, because of our choices. Just as there would be no presidents if no one voted. Water wouldn’t be obtainable through the rotation of a switch if no one had decided that dams and irrigation needed to be built. We wouldn’t be alive if our parents chose to neglect us.
We wouldn’t be able to define ourselves if we hadn’t made decisions. We possess talents but what really matters is what we do with those talents; when we decide to grow and adapt. High school is over but that doesn’t mean the dreams we had then should change. It just means it’s time to start motivating ourselves to go after our dreams.