Here we are at the close of 2015. What an amazing year, to say the least. I have always been a goal setter, perhaps you would even call me a dreamer. If anyone I met ever told me I couldn’t do something, I worked twice as hard to prove them wrong. Does this mean that all of my goals have been met without some challenges and strife, or that all of my dreams have come true? No, absolutely not, but setting goals and having the courage to dream are what has defined my path. And looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing, even with the goals I couldn’t quite reach or the dreams that didn’t quite come true in the way I envisioned. Because in the end, the journey to those goals and dreams led me to something even better.
When I was in senior high, I was a three sport athlete. I played volleyball, basketball and softball. All three sports all year round. I was in band and theater, and of course, I was in FFA. My mom used to say, “You can do anything, you just can’t do everything.” Believe me, I tried very, very hard to prove her wrong.
When it came time to start thinking about colleges and a career path, I knew I had to narrow down my passions, and get a little more focused on what I wanted to do with my life! From 9th grade on, I had worked really hard in sports because I thought I really wanted to play college basketball or volleyball. I invested immense amounts of time playing basketball in the off-season trying to gain the skills I needed to perhaps play at the college level. I dreamed of playing on the college court.
I was also very involved in FFA all throughout high school. I loved every minute of every one of my FFA opportunities. One day, early in my senior year, I had a revelation so to speak. I was beginning to come to the realization that college sports just may not be my calling. I pondered what direction my path may lead if sports wasn’t at the front and center of my goals. Then it hit me. My parents are truly amazing and supportive, but the conversation my mom and I had after I came home from an FFA event one day, dressed in my corduroy finery, is one I will never forget. She explained to me how after every FFA event I attended, I would come home so excited and be “bouncing off the walls for days.” She reminded me how I talked endlessly about the people, the places and the things of FFA. How proud I was of my SAE, how I enjoyed serving as Chapter President, and how I wanted to share agricultural information with everyone I met. I was stunned. There it was: my goal, my path, my dream to follow. It had been there all along, and I was already pursuing it! I just needed to trust in my journey. I did love all things FFA and agricultural education. I also loved sports and many other extra-curricular events I was involved in, but none gave me the excitement, joy and drive that FFA did.
After my little epiphany, I began to focus my college search on agricultural education instead of sports, and it immediately felt right. I dared to dream I could attend the University of Minnesota. I dared to dream I could continue my journey with FFA. I dared to dream about running for state office. I know well enough that not all of my dreams will become reality, but that is the beauty in dreaming. Sometimes we have to just pay attention to what actually makes us happy to see the dream that really suits us. I don’t feel like I gave up my dream of college sports, I just found the one that better suited me and felt like a natural fit.
I want to encourage all of you to set goals and follow your dreams. Have you thought about getting more involved in FFA? Taking part in a CDE that is new to you? How about a new part for your SAE? As FFA members we have the opportunity to dream big about making strides in agricultural education and facing the challenge of feeding the 9! Together we can dare to dream about sustainable agriculture for our world! Just think what can happen if Together we…Dare to Dream!
Follow your dream whether it is in sports, music, FFA, or theater. If you want to major in chemistry, math, agriculture, or be a healthcare professional, do what gives you joy. Dare to dream about what you can achieve alone and what you can achieve together with others. Goals and dreams are what take us down the path of life.
My basketball coach once told me, “God gives us the outline for our lives, it’s up to us to write the story.” I encourage all of you to dare to dream and write your story.
Together We… Dare to Dream