In high school, I had two main goals – letter in theater and be accepted to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Much to my disappointment, I accomplished neither. The feelings of failure and rejection were incredibly hard to deal with; it was like the worst break-up ever. I had worked so hard and felt that should have counted for something. The let downs of high school, although they happened years ago, still affect me today. Especially when it comes to creating and achieving goals that are larger than getting my homework done or writing another article.
I am incredibly wary of making goals and even more wary of telling others if I do. I was extremely excited about the idea of attending UW-Madison all throughout high school. It reached the point where my love for the school in the “Great White North” became a part of my identity. Whenever I go home for a school holiday, people still ask me how I like Wisconsin despite actually attending the University of Illinois, my parents covering our cars in Illini stickers, and my dad’s beloved “U of I” shirts (orange and blue button ups in a variety of plaids, usually from Old Navy). Not being accepted into Wisconsin broke my heart and I felt like I had not let only myself down, but also my family as they had encouraged me so much. Now I rarely tell people my goals because I do not want to feel like I’ve disappointed others through my failure.
After not being accepted in the University of Wisconsin, I accepted my offer at the University of Illinois. I planned on staying there for a year then transferring to Wisconsin. Even though I only wanted to stay a year, I decided to get involved in something so I wouldn’t feel like my year was just spent on school. On Quad Day I fell in love with an organization that brought touring acts to campus and was a part of every step of the process. The friends I made in the club and the fun times I had had after only the first two months, kept me from transferring to my dream school because I had found my place. I wanted to spend my entire college career making this organization even more successful.
The club has many leadership positions, including two head leadership positions for seniors. I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to achieve. My determination drove me to devote much of my time to the club and to make it my number one priority outside of school. The dedication I showed my freshman rewarded me with the position of Social Media Manager, a position I held for two years. It was an exciting experience for others see to how much work I was putting in and how much the club meant to me and then to recognize my work.
Before I knew it, my junior year began along with talk of who was going to fill the senior manager positions for the following year. I had never really told anyone about my desire to lead the club because of that fear of not accomplishing my goals. Even when others would tell me that I was bound to get it, my fear of failure increased. Their support was greatly appreciated but I was still afraid that they were unintentionally setting me up for failure. These were similar feelings to the ones I’d had toward my family regarding college acceptances. Despite my fears, I applied and went through the interview process. The first being with the current senior managers (people who believed I would get the position) and the real boss, a man who had never met me and might not have even heard of me beforehand. I was much more nervous for the latter as he only had pieces of paper in front of him and my words to see what I had put into the organization and how important the organization was to me.
A week later the call came. My wish had come true, I was going to be one of the senior managers. The feelings I had after this phone call were the total opposite of those I had on that cold January day when my dreams of becoming a badger were crushed. I couldn’t wait to tell my fellow members and felt even happier when they went out of their way to congratulate me and tell me that I “deserved it” or they “knew I was going to get it”. The phone call telling me that my dreams came true will forever be one of my favorite college memories. I am so excited to have accomplished a goal I set for myself.
Achieving this senior manager position has helped me to feel more comfortable with making larger goals for myself. A lot of my self esteem was lost during high school because of my lack letter in something I loved or get into my dream school but I have gained much more confidence through my achievements in my favorite club.
Although I have new goals and have accomplished something big, I am still afraid of sharing with others my big dreams. Hopefully reaching more and maybe larger goals will help me to find the strength to share my dreams with people outside of my closest friends.