The Echoes

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The value of dreaming

Aiming high is worth chance of failure

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I took a deep breath and closed my eyes before walking through the door. I knew that the next four years, not to mention the rest of my life, would be determined by what happened in that room.
Not long after, my hands shook as I opened an email, scanning through the “thank you for your application” paragraphs that educational facilities seem to think are classy, but ultimately just draw out an applicants pain.
Finally, I got to the missive’s real message: you are no longer under consideration for admission for the 2018-19 school year.
I felt bile fill my throat. Blinking back tears I took a deep breath, so similar and so different from the one I had taken just over an hour before. I thought, “So this is the consequence of dreaming big.”
The situation just described was my experience auditioning for Juilliard, the world’s foremost performing arts education facility.
They accept 8-10 students into their undergraduate program every year from thousands of applicants, maintaining an acceptance rate of .5 percent, or five in one thousand applicants.
In short, I have a far better chance of winning the lottery than getting into Juilliard. So, why even think about applying? Actually, why consider being an actress at all? Won’t I end up starving to death or giving up and getting a “real job?”
These questions are asked frequently, lovingly offered by those who want me to have a bright future or creeping up as dark, poisonous thoughts in the crevices of my own mind.
The answer is simple, but remains one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.
Have courage. Blind, stupid courage. The kind of crazy, pretentious bravery that leads to flying across the country and putting my heart on the line when the chances of success are five in a thousand.
But is it worth it to form this courage and follow your dreams? To have your ambitions crushed and your heart strained, potentially losing things more measurably valuable, such as money or comfort?
Absolutely.
In fact, chasing dreams is a necessity. Without doing so individuals cannot grow.
Fortunately, not every dream requires a flight out of DIA, a headshot, and four contrasting monologue selections.
Maybe you’re the football player who lives for the feeling of a glorious touchdown and the feeling of utter exhaustion at the end of a wholehearted practice.
Maybe you’ve got a half-finished novel tucked away in your backpack and you can envision the world you’re creating more clearly than you remember what you ate for breakfast this morning.
Maybe you love the way equations fall together when done perfectly, or the challenge of getting a steer ready for showing, or being the person everyone goes to if they have a bad day and need a shoulder to cry on or a life-altering, rejuvenating makeover.
Know what you love, and then chase it with everything you have. Perhaps that means taking a course loaded with pre-med classes at WNCC, or enrolling for Chadron’s teacher training program. Those options may be far more practical than running off to New York, but they are both risks and require courage and passion.
Without the bravery and dedication it takes to pursue something, humans would still be living in houses unlit by the Edison bulb, devoid of artists like Picasso and knowledge of what exists on worlds beyond our own.
I don’t think we’d be able to go outside each day and face the world without dreams. And, if those dreams come crashing down, they drove us to become stronger, required us to develop self-confidence, and gave us a reason to get up and keep going.
“This is the consequence of dreaming big dreams,” I thought to myself, as I read the rejection from the school of my dreams, “but I would do it all over again.”

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The value of dreaming