Three simple words that my “home” from 2004-2017, Curry College, proudly and confidently displays around campus for students to see, think about, and aspire to.
Samuel Silas Curry championed this thought…and I embraced it wholeheartedly from “Day One” of my love-affair with the college Mr. Curry founded… “Dare to dream.”
I wasn’t a career educator by any means, although I actually began my professional life as an Air Force English Language Instructor and closed it out as Associate Professor, Communication/Public Relations.
If you had asked me in the early years if I were going to be a “teacher,” I would have snippily said “No way!” In my own mind, I wasn’t cut out to teach others how to do something. In fact, I had serious doubts about my own ability to do virtually anything.
But life…apparently having a mind of its own…took over and catapulted me through an incredible assortment of experiences INCLUDING teaching English in Vietnam, teaching audiovisual media classes in the Philippines, and, ultimately, starting as a part-time, segueing to full-time, public relations professor…with a bazillion other types of adventures in between. (Wow! THAT was a loonngg sentence!)
Looking back on it, I kind of instinctively took on the unofficial role of advisor/mentor for hundreds of students over the years. They would come to me…tentatively at first…with various questions about courses to take for their degree and about the course they should take in life.
I would inevitably ask, “What do you want to do? What gets you really excited when you think about or do it?”
We would chat for a while and they would eventually say, “Well, I really like doing XYZ.” To which I would respond, “Then DO it! You’ll never know until you try!”
And this, I believe, is what Mr. Curry was thinking when he uttered those three words.
Don’t just “settle.” Just because “everyone else is doing ABC” is not a reason why you have to. There’s always XYZ!
So (a) talk to others…teachers, friends, family members, contacts you’ve made in the course of your life…and get their input and ideas.
Then, (b) have a long, serious conversation with yourself. Think about all the things you’ve done…all the experiences you’ve had…and identify those that bring back the best memories and feelings.
Then, (c) as Nike would have it, “Just do it.”
Or maybe not…
And if it’s “maybe not,” try something else! It’s like buying a car…you “test drive” it first to see if it’s what you really want.
Whatever the case, it’s your future. As our motto said when I worked as a civilian Public Affairs Specialist for the US Army Recruiting Command, “Be all you can be.”
Or, to wrap this up, as Mr. Curry said so wisely, “Dare to dream, but be not an idle dreamer.”