When you're little you're always told, "You can be anything you set your mind to!" Basically, if you can dream it, you can do it. This is true in the sense that you can be anything you want to be if you are willing to learn and work hard. You don't just wake up one morning and have the life you want or the job you want. You have to set goals and strive for it. But when you're little you have all these crazy ideas of what you could grow up to be like: astronaut, rock-star or pop-star, princess, vet, doctor, and so many others. Mine ranged from princess to marine biologist.
When I was little the very first thing I wanted to be, like most girls, was a princess. I've always loved Disney's princesses and still do to this day, especially Ariel. The thought of mermaids and being able to live underwater was fascinating but even then I knew that was not possible.
The younger me was going to grow up, travel, and marry a prince who'd whisk me away to happily ever after. However, I quickly grew out of that once I realized that you don't just get the prince and his castle, you get the entire kingdom with all its people and problems. There was also the issue of no privacy and getting to do what I wanted, whenever I wanted. The princess idea was trashed.
When I was in the fourth through sixth grade, I wanted to be a zoologist and work at the zoo. I wanted to feed the tigers and take care of the many other animals there. Of course, it didn't click in my brain that zoologist wasn't listed to just working at the zoo until we started having take-home projects in different environments and what animals they house.
I was assigned the rainforest and I was obsessed. I loved the bright and colorful animals of the forest floors and treetops. I loved the slow-moving creatures that never touched the ground to the small hooved animals that could never touch the sky and the marine life swimming in the river. And although I loved it, I never saw myself doing anything with that love.
In middle school, I wanted to be a scientist. I wanted to help fix the world's problems (to which there are a lot of). I dreamed of doing crazy experiments, blowing stuff up, and finding cures. And if I couldn't become a scientist, I would become a science teacher and do experiments in the classroom with my students.
Or at least I was until I realized that being a scientist was a lot more than just earth and animal science. It included chemistry and physics, things that I did not understand and could not do. I realized really fast (after I almost failed) that I was only good at environmental science.
In high school, I learned that I have a love for marine biology. I loved being in and around water, I loved the ocean and most of the things in it. My teenage self-wanted to be a marine biologist cause that meant living by water or working at a marine park/aquarium. Then it grew to wanting to help the island of garbage floating in the ocean the size of Texas, help with the rise in sea levels (melting glaciers), help the Great Barrier Reef, and to keep certain creatures from going extinct (because the next mass extinction will come from the ocean).
I want to help with all these amazing things and so much more, but right now my fear of what lies in the ocean that isn't supposed to terrify me. One of my biggest fears is planes and ships lying on the ocean floor. It scares me because the ocean is amazing and giving, but it also takes and it sometimes doesn't leave anything standing in its path. Being a marine biologist would be amazing, but I can't sit through the lectures, I'm not ready to leave home, and I'm not ready for it yet. I think I'll always love marine biology, and it will most likely be something I go back to in the future.
My first few years of college were spent trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. My major was undecided until the spring semester my sophomore year when I decided to major in history. Out of all the classes I've had in my life, history has always been my favorite. History keeps me interested and I have no problem learning it (this probably stemmed from my love of mythology).
I learn something new every day, and no matter what you believe history is always changing, we find new facts every day about past events. In the words of George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." We look to the past to teach us what is right and wrong. We look to the past has and has not worked. We look to the past for politics, war, and compromise. The past is important to remember when we look towards our future.
Out of all these things that I dreamed up when I was younger, none of them are what I chose to be or do with my life. Princess was never a realistic goal for me, some people are graced with amazing luck, but that life was not meant for me. Don't get me wrong though, I would still love to be a princess. Zoologist would be amazing but working with animals that could potentially kill me isn't what I want to do all day every day.
A mad scientist requires too much brain skill that I believe I do not have, unfortunately. Marine biology is still something I love and consider from time to time, and I still hope to take part in it one day when I have my life figured out. Out of everything I dreamt up as a kid, everything I believed that was wonderful, was just childhood plans. I would have loved to have been a princess, a zoologist, a mad scientist, or a marine biologist.
My childhood plans developed who I am today, someone who loves princesses, cares for animals and wants to help save the world. Don't ever tell someone that they're dreams are just dreams because they have the power of shaping people into who they'll become.