Dreams Deferred MyStory Happenings Project MyStory

S-T-R-E-T-C-H: Following Your Dreams

By Tiffany Araya, Project MyStory Blogger

I’ve heard that it’s most tempting to give up right before some kind of breakthrough is about to happen, something good and unexpected. I’ve also heard that it’s easy to settle when you accomplish something, rather than pushing yourself to accomplish more. I think that getting comfortable with certain accomplishments is most pervasive in our society. There’s a one size fits all mold that everyone is expected to follow: Graduate from high school, go to College, graduate again, get a job, work hard, get a promotion, keep working hard and eventually retire. Generally, we are supposed to be satisfied with these accomplishments. It’s a lifestyle we’re all familiar with because we see it everywhere around us and we hear about it (all the time).

But if you look closely, some of the most successful people in the world, the people who have made the greatest impact on society and humanity at large didn’t conform to that one-size-fits-all path that I mentioned. A lot of them dropped out of college to pursue their dreams, to create their own products and businesses. Of course, a college education is invaluable and I’m certainly not encouraging anyone to drop out, but it sure does make me wonder.

So, I’ve been thinking for a long time that this mold might not be for me. I had determined on my own that it wasn’t. But my feelings were validated when I attended the BlogHer ’15 convention this past July with fellow ETC contributor, Stephani.

Of all my hobbies and interests, writing is one of the things I love to do the most. It always has been, since writing short stories to share with my teachers during recess in elementary school. When I reached high school and we started talking about college, I already knew that my major was going to be English. For some reason, everyone started trying to put me in this box that I had never confined myself to in my life. People assumed I was going to be a teacher, because they figured that was the only thing I could do with an English degree. Some people even tried to discourage me from being an English major at all. But none of this mattered to me because I knew my degree was not a cage to be trapped in.

There were many keynote speakers throughout the course of the convention but my favorite was presented by the CEO of Egami Consulting Group, Teneshia J. Warner. She shared her philosophy of the STRETCH, a concept that basically encourages people to chase their dreams and reach further than settling for something “good” when they know they can accomplish more. Her keynote address confirmed for me that I could go far beyond what people thought for me, that I didn’t have to do what people were telling me to do. It’s not that these people didn’t want to see me do better but perhaps that they were never encouraged or inspired to dream bigger and to believe that they could accomplish anything they wanted….Or maybe we just have different ideas of accomplishment.

I will not explain the video myself because it is truly a presentation worth watching; hearing her speak really changed my perceptions for the better.

Cross-posted here: Eat the Cake Blog

Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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