As I picture what I want my life to look like in ten years, I feel an overwhelming sense of curiosity. That’s because lately, my dreams haven’t felt so far out of reach.
Whether that’s blissful delusion or confidence in where I am at in life, I’ve learned and experienced so much in college. These memories and lessons helped shift my perspective from fearing the future to becoming hopeful for what is to come. With that being said, I wanted to share a few things that have helped me achieve a balance between my dreams and reality.
Let go of your timeline
There is no specific time frame you should follow when it comes to achieving your dreams. I recently changed my major, and while I’ve felt like I have fallen behind, I saved myself years of unhappiness in the future if I were to become the hot shot attorney I thought I wanted to be.
Many of my friends are already interviewing for internships in the summer. I have yet to update my resume with my recent changes in education and work experience, but that does not mean I am failing. In order for me to achieve my dreams, I knew I needed to stop comparing my timeline with everyone else’s. Never forget that even when other people seem so far ahead of you, someone is admiring how far you’ve come.
Every step counts
It is crucial to understand everything you have already done will lead you to where you want to go in the future. Now, it may seem like your job at that restaurant is simply to get your mom to lighten up about your spending habits, but you’ll soon realize that same job taught you responsibility, punctuality, flexibility and most importantly how to interact with different kinds of people.
Likewise, there are a handful of classes I felt wouldn’t help me in the long run, but in hindsight, I’m grateful for taking them. Sure, I will probably never use statistics in my future career, but I worked so diligently to succeed at something I am not naturally good at. Instead of getting discouraged and frustrated at my supposed shortcomings, I learned to work hard for something I wanted — a skill that will only benefit me in the future.
Set yourself up for success
The key to not being disappointed is to set yourself up for success. That is not to say any dream is unattainable, but it is very important to be realistic with your dreams. I would love to see myself as the youngest billionaire listed in Forbes, but such a lofty goal is unrealistic.
However, do not sell yourself short either. I’ve recently learned the importance of walking away from things that do not benefit me. In doing so, I was able to finally put myself in a position to succeed. To achieve my goals, I had to surround myself with people who wanted that for me as well. It’s okay to be selfish when it comes to your happiness; never be apologetic for that.
When it comes to success, I learned how crucial it is to know what you want and figure out how to ask for it. My mom constantly shared this advice with my sister and I growing up, and it’s been applicable to every aspect of my life –– whether that was getting a job, finding an internship, or asking a teacher to round up my grade at the end of a painful semester. People are more willing to help you than you think, so have some faith in that. Everybody has to start somewhere.
Finally, be aware that nothing worthwhile in life comes easily, nor is it meant to. Hard work and perseverance will lead you to living the life you envision for yourself. Keep in mind, I am simply a college student who could take my own advice as well. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
Thalia Alleman (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and public relations.