There is a saying where I come from: “Go big or go home.” Over the years I have come to better understand what my elders meant by that crazy saying.
Society tried to instill in me specific dreams as a little girl: Fancy weddings with Cinderella ball-gowns, a white-picket-fence surrounding a quaint-three-bedroom-brick house in the suburbs. But I have never been your average girl. I dream of becoming an astronaut. I want to see Africa blanketed by an endless sea of white clouds. I want to see Antarctica and its blinding white snow and ice. I dream of becoming a paleontologist. I want to unearth history and the opportunity to discover a world that can only be understood by the bones left behind by ancient reptiles.
As I have gotten older and began experiencing the world for myself instead of relying upon silver-lined tales, I have craved the wedding. The house. The family. But life is more than a Disney fairytale with a happily-ever-after ending. I want more than that. I want it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I want to feel the warmth of the intimate hug after a long tiring day. I need to be able to travel and visit forgotten landmarks. I long to breathe in the sweet taste of forgiveness and love as I live day by day.
Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” With graduation approaching like a thundering train, I think about what Shakespeare meant and wonder what role I am playing in life. I can be anything I wish. My childhood dreams can and will come alive. Like the North Star, dreams of betterment and promise have always been a guiding force in my life.
Ultimately, dreams consist of hard work. We can accomplish anything we set our mind to as long as we are willing to put in the effort. I wanted to publish a book before I graduated high school and by senior year of high school I published my first book. I always believed I would attend the University of Mount Olive, and now I am about to graduate. Like the Little Engine that could, “I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could.” I believed in myself and therefore gave life to my dreams.
Rachel Southerland is a senior English major at University of Mount Olive. She loves poetry and has published a poetry book entitled Love Sung Softly. Rachel hopes to enter into the Public Relations field after graduation.