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You probably won’t ever go to space

September is here again, and it is as bittersweet as it was in elementary school.



By Ali Siemens (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: August 21, 2012

Elementary school was a time in all of our lives where teachers, parents and elders told us we could be anything we wanted. Learning the alphabet was paired with dream jobs: “A is for astronaut,” “B is for baker.” We were told we could be anything if we set our minds to it.

Dreaming of becoming an astronaut has not worked out in my favour; neither has getting into grad school or being sought out by a New York head-hunting firm.

September is here again, and it is as bittersweet as it was in elementary school.

Summer and all its adventures and good times with friends are over. It is suddenly back to the grind. There is that feeling of excitement right before school starts, knowing that the next university semester is about to start; in my case, it is the final year of my degree.

I learned quickly that obtaining my dream job is going to be a lot harder than just dreaming about it. Since sitting in a criss-cross-apple-sauce semi-circle in elementary school, we have moved to the university classroom. Here, not all questions are intelligent, and no one is going to write in your day planner to remind you of your homework. It’s all on you.

University is bittersweet. We are in a land of opportunities, especially at UFV. Here we can communicate directly with our professors, and if you have a voice to be heard someone will listen.

But this is just a community; just like the Whoville we read about in elementary school, we are one snowflake among many. In order to set yourself apart, you better be willing to put your best damn foot forward. If not, then I am sorry to break it to you: life is not going to work out just because you have an education. The world doesn’t work that way any more.

If you have dreams of making it big, whatever that may mean to you, you can’t forget that mediocrity is unacceptable. Although going to see a cheap movie at Towne Cinema is appealing on a Tuesday night, maybe you should stay in and read your textbook. Studying and acing your final will be more rewarding in the long run than seeing the latest Step Up movie.

But that being said, becoming an astronaut, or whatever it is that turns your crank, is possible if you do more than just dream about it. Success is what you make of it. Expect to work hard, sacrifice free time, be frustrated and dislike certain courses you’re in. But also remind yourself: these are the first steps you are taking towards creating a life. These choices are going to stick with you forever.

As you enter the classroom and sit down next to your peers you should make friends, but also remember, they could be in the running for your dream job four years down the road. Study hard and don’t you dare give up.

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  1. Dessa

    August 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm


  2. Paul

    August 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    What? No naked presidents? I quit too. :-)

    But good job, Ali!

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