Follow Your Dreams? Easier Said Than Done, But Worth It In the End

by Declan Poehler

“I’m sick of following my dreams. I’m just going to ask them where they’re goin’, and hook up with them later.” (Mitch Hedberg,

Senior year is almost over with nearly just one term left. All of your friends are getting accepted to colleges and getting ready to pursue their future careers, but you feel terrified because you still don’t have a secure future in place. Does this make you a failure?

From a young age in school we are told we can be whatever we want when we grow up. Some kids give the responses of ballerina, veterinarian, astronaut or actor. Over the course of time we change and maybe we don’t want to take on those professions anymore, but some of us still have that desire inside to follow those dreams.

Personally, from a young age I latched onto music. I went to my first concert at a young age and over time the musicians on stage became my idols. I wanted to follow their every move to someday have the opportunity to be on stage and have my name on a marquee.

Once I hit middle school I was able to form my first band. Every day we practiced after school I would get off the bus and run straight to the house we practiced in. We wrote our own songs and were able to play a few shows now and then. I had never felt better about my life and future.

When asked about what career I wanted to take on in middle school, I said musician. But unlike most people who were met with positive responses by the guidance counselor, I was instantly pounded with the question, “What is your backup plan?” I couldn’t find an answer to give them because I couldn’t find anything I loved more than music, and I still haven’t.

Just before I entered high school the first band broke up but I found another band to join. This time around we released two albums and were even played on the radio! I was beyond excited as the radio DJ announced the song and it roared through the speakers.

But just as things were starting to look permanent, the band fell apart at the end of my junior year. I was lost, so I found a job and tried to forget about it. For a few months I barely played or wrote any songs. A part of me had lost hope that I could still follow my dream.

I had entered the very first dark period of my life. Everyone knew me as a very outgoing and positive person but I became the most depressed I had ever been. Every morning I felt myself going through the same routine: School, work, sleep, school, work, sleep… I felt worthless and pointless. Anyone could easily do my job better than me and I didn’t enjoy one second of it.

The beginning of senior year, like everyone else, I was called in to the guidance counselor’s office to map out my future. When asked what I was planning on doing after college, I gave the empty response of trade school. I couldn’t believe I had even uttered the words. Never had I ever wanted to pursue trade school, or even had a remote interest in it.

A month later my brother’s favorite band Breaking Benjamin was playing a small show after announcing they had reunited with a new lineup. I instantly purchased tickets to go knowing how rare these kinds of opportunities are. I knew I had work that night but I decided that I would see this show even if I had to quit my job.

The day of the show arrived, and as we waited outside the venue, the lead singer of the band greeted us and let us take a picture with him. I was starstruck and in complete awe. He talked to a few fans nearly crying as they hugged him and thanked him for saving their lives as they had been contemplating suicide before they found his music. That night I realized the power of music as I saw my brother’s eyes light up as he sang along with the band. The music revealed a side of him I had never seen.

After that show I realized that no matter what obstacles we face, we should never give up on the dreams and passions that make us love life. No one should be discouraged from doing what they want to do, because in the end it is their choice.

“But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be” (Dead Poet’s Society, IMDB).

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