One of my first big dreams that I could remember having is going to Paris. Or maybe it was living in Paris... Anyway, I knew that if I wanted to stand a chance in Paris that I would need to learn the language. So, I took summer school classes in French in middle school (maybe even sooner). Then, I took French in high school for credit. I had a role model in my life who went to France as part of French Club in high school, so I knew about the opportunity when I stepped foot in the French room on my first day of high school. I had my site on it, since I knew the opportunity existed. I joined French Club, I saved up money, I got a job, I sold candy bars (probably ate some too), oh and I can't forget the before school donut stand. I signed up for the 1997 trip the first chance I got. I worked hard to make sure I could go. And guess what!?!? I spent two glorious weeks en France!
About the time the Paris dream came to be, I also learned that there were people who designed clothes. I lived in a small town that had a few ma and pa shops and soon to come a KMart. Learning about fashion designers was absolutely fascinating. In my mind all the greats came from Paris, so it was the perfect marriage of goals - become a Parisian fashion designer. In high school, I looked at magazines and colleges that would support my vision. I tore out the magazine pages that I loved. I researched colleges. FIT seemed like it would be great, but I wasn't fond of the idea of going to New York. I was actually afraid that I would get stuck there and never to Paris again...One of my teachers in high school recommended that I look into going to UW-Stout. I looked into the school, toured it, and applied. I had to take out loans, and apply for scholarships and grants. I worked three jobs a couple of years in college. BUT, I did graduate with a B.S. in Apparel Design and Manufacturing from STOUT! Am I fashion designer today? No. Do I want to be one? No, but not because I fell short of my goal. I have actually had a couple of design jobs in my career. They, just were not for me. I love being a technical designer. I love engineering the products I work on and solving any issues that may come up.
Growing up, I didn't have the best cards in my hand to play. But, I made every effort to not let the bad cards hold me back. So, what if I grew up in a single parent household!? So, what if my mom didn't have the money to outfit me in name brand clothing!? So, what if she worked two jobs while I took care of my brother (let's face it, I least excited about this card)!? Do you know what I did have? An amazing support system!!! My family helped my mom out however they could. I had amazing people take care of me while my mom was at work or if she needed a night out. I spend so much time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Because, of that I was able to take my shitty hand and turn it into a four of a kind with an ace. Now, I am working on the Royal Flush.
I really believe that you can achieve anything you dream. You just can't leave that dream up in the clouds of your head. You need to take the steps to pursue them. I know it can be scary sometimes, but you need to put on your big girl/boy undies, get over yourself, and put some elbow grease into achieving your dreams. Set small goals for yourself. These help motivate you along. Celebrate the small victories. Today, didn't go as planned for me, but I celebrated that I didn't eat the random food that is left in the conference room I was working in today.