Why not —— Go for it with your dreams and courage

Presented by Hart Bullock

When it comes to dreams, like many of you, I tend to recall the memory in my childhood. Our parents and teachers always liked to ask our dream jobs in our youth. Interestingly, once upon a time, without any exception, it seemed that our responses were quite identical as if we had a deal ahead. Scientist, doctor, astronaut, policeman……

Whatever it was, in our mind’s eye, they were part of our dreams. For now, most of our previous ambitious sound like daydreams, aren’t they?

This is a picture I took in Yunnan Province, about one year ago. I captured this shot by coincidence. When I looked at it for a second time, I was totally immersed with the message I had learned from it. They were kids and lived in a rural area surrounded by mountains and forests. That boy was wearing a tattered T-shirt, a haversack, and no shoes.

Hopefully, these seeming hardships didn’t bother him and them. They were enjoying exploration; they were having a great time, and they were innocent.

Last week, I asked some students who are going to graduate from college what their dreams are. Unanimously, they long for jobs with which they can make a living in future. Also, obviously, those jobs don’t have to be scientist, doctor, astronauts or even cop.

Is there any gap between a job and a dream? Does it necessarily mean reality and fantasy? Whenever I consider dreams, I personally believe no story about dreams becomes complete without this one. The School Story is a perceptive and meaningful novel by Andrew Clements. It tells a story about how two 12-year-old girls managed to publish a bestseller book in New York; how they made their dreams come true. I admired them since they were very brave and ambitious.

In this day and age, parents and teachers often tell us to work hard so as to hunt for a job. Sometimes, they may say work harder because as you know so fierce is the competition that it has become harder to get you hired.

To be frank, I am kind of confused so next I would ask “what about my dreams then?” Then what? It seems that they were speechless when confronting my face like this (make a face like questioning). This kind of thought our parents and teachers hold is not striking enough to draw attention. What if it is a widely spread idea? Some of us may not care about it. Yes, what we need is money rather than a dream. So for the next November 11th, I think I will pay for my wish lists with money, but not dreams. Does it mean dreams are useless? Most people dread Monday mornings and having to go back to work, though well-paid. Roger Caras said “Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself; you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could have imagined.”

We are now adults, and it is exciting, indeed. However, in terms of dreaming, we are just not as good as we did when we were 8 years old. We need to evoke our ability to dream, again. Here is an interesting and prevailing phenomenon I have noticed in college. Students always choose seats in the back row. It is not on account of those seats in the front row having already been occupied. Focusing on this unresolved mystery, I interviewed some students and teachers. Teachers acclaimed that they hoped students could sit in the front row. Thus, they would have better interaction and help students pay more attention to their study during the class. Besides, they also pointed at the reason why no one sits in the front in that they are socially bonded with other classmates who don’t want to do that, simply because that looks like stupid and not in. This way, even if some students feel like sitting in the front, they are under pressure. The obstacle appears. What’s more, when I asked some students concerning the same question, and on the contrary, they asked me “Are you new here?” This time, I was speechless.

When I realized this, I made up my mind to do something challengeable. Here is my attempt. Since the 8th week this semester, I have moved myself to the first row in the classroom, and I insisted on doing this unusual behavior. And in the 10th week, there were five classmates moving their butts to a front row as well, nonetheless not to the first row.

Still, it was a big step. And I have to admit that was a great comfort to me on that beautiful morning. We can deny that we are going to be a scientist like Einstein. We can deny that we are going to be as wealthy as Bill Gates.

There’s one thing that we cannot deny. That we all have dreams and we all have the ability to imagine. What makes a difference to lie in ourselves like it always has. Then what is your obstacle?

What’s stopping you from sticking to your teenager dream?
What’s stopping you from persevering in your study?
What’s stopping you from moving to the first row?
What’s stopping you from taking your first step?

In the early days of this year, there was a hit movie, La La Land. I am not talking about how successful the movie is. I am talking about how important your dreams are. I am not talking about how beautiful and attractive Emma Stone is. I am talking about how incredible and stunning your dreams can be.

“Here’s to the fools who dream.
Crazy as they may seem.
Here’s to the hearts that break.
Here’s to the mess we make.” (La La Land, 2016)

We are grow-ups and gradually becoming mature. We all have dreams, and they are not big or small. At the same time, we also are full of worries. What if I cannot make it? What if I cannot solve the problems? What if I will lose it?…

“You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes, imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination, not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly, many more will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination.” (Winston Churchill, 1941) In my freshmen year, I was ambitious as well as fearless. Once I was in charge of the English Club, a crazy thought popped out of my mind———I wanted to create a newspaper, an English newspaper on campus. Before I did it, I assumed that it was way too impossible. Here, it is a piece of my designed publications.

So, what about your dreams? Or what about your broken dreams? You know failure is the mother of success. When you hesitate to follow your dream, why not ask yourselves some “why not” questions. I still remember the teacher asked us why we were going to learn that lesson in her first Marxism Class. And I asked, why not?

Why not stick to your teenager dream?
Why not persevering in your study or career in college?
Why not move to the first row in your classroom?
Why not hang out the red flag to your fear and take the first step?

“Now, we’re all here to dream, but maybe if we’re honest about it, each of us chasing our own dreams. I think what we fear most is that we will be denied the opportunity to fulfill our true potential, that we are born to dream and we might die without ever having the chance.” (Dan Pallotta, 2016) I am so into Barbie movies since the soundtracks along with the lyrics are powerful, inspiring and full of positive energy.

When you have no idea where to go and you are feeling all alone. Why not look inside yourself and look around? You are so much more than you know. When you are stuck and out of time, you need to believe in yourselves that you can cross the finish line.

“You can be anything you want
If you believe who you are
You’ll light up the whole world
You are shining and so bright” (Barbie Star Light Adventure” Shooting Star”, 2016)

It’s time we set our foot and efforts into what we are supposed to do on the road to achieving our dreams. Why not make a difference from this moment on? “You cannot let the fear of falling keep you from flying.” (Jane the Virgin, 2015)

It’s an honor to be with you. Thank you very much.