Graduates Should Be Encouraged to Do Not Dream
Lofty dreams should be deferred.
On Facebook, parents are encouraging their kids to follow their dreams. Come on, you’re a parent and should have good advice. So I just want to gag. Rote clichés with no basis means I must comment.
Early on, Star Trek made me dream. A better world emerged because math, science and technology were mastered. So I followed suit. But by high school, dreams played no part.
For as much as high school descended into a place of social isolation, I was happy to prolong it as long as possible. So as others envisioned getting out, I recognized its ease and saw no reason to rush the unknown.
I did my work and figured I’d be a businessman because my father was. No dreams, I was present, but he provided the next step. I was going into computers, and I remember my thoughts exactly. “That’s a damn good idea.”
The fateful day arrives.
Of course, I didn’t know what that meant, and any attempt to understand was more akin to a nightmare. Unable to hold back graduation, I was quite unnerved as I learned my first language at Plattsburgh State. Would I be able to apply what I was learning? But once I got that first program working, I knew I would graduate.
So, did I dream? I left that to others. Many majored in computer science because of the potential earnings at stake.
I had no such inclination. Computer Science provided me an intellectual challenge, while the dreamers came up well short.
Either way, I was back on familiar ground. I didn’t know what real world programming was, but college was fun. So, I did everything to keep coming back.
I had a dream—sort of.
I realized my love of history could provide a career that wouldn't kill me. Yes, I now had a dream. Someday I’d mold young minds, and do it like a “Dead Poet”—a dream I later learned to be unfounded.
Nonetheless, I was completing my field, and when the time came, I would ride off into the sunset as a teacher. You know, before computers gave me an aneurysm.
I had a plan (or at least a narrative) that could quiet the people picking up the tab. But the dream was still before me, and again, I was in no rush.
I finally had real friends, and every moment of every day you got a plate appearance. Forget that I usually struck-out looking with the ample supply of beautiful girls, what more could you ask?
I guess being happily married. I see married people. They report difficulty, challenges, monotony and a 50 percent divorce rate. Of course, companionship, joy, and reassuring familiarity are included, but that’s no dream. It’s the best we’ve been able to come up with.
Not Bad for a Non-Dreamer
Nonetheless, graduation yielded a job as a Tech Support Analyst, and I lived with three college buddies in the greatest city in the world. Not so bad for a non-dreamer, but despite success at work, the stress had me seeking an early sunset.
Unfortunately, I was “Boy, Interrupted.” I was hit with a mental illness that completely eviscerated my life.
I did not lose my sense of humor, though, and as all encompassing as it was, a thought emerged. “This is really funny, and when I get better, I want to write about this.”
The writer was born. (Actually, he was born long before, but the vocation never occurred to me).
Now, that’s a dream.
However, career change always takes time, and the interim placed me as a daycare teacher’s aide. This was not a dream. In fact, I found it quite emasculating. I felt like a purposeless failure whose education yielded nothing more than a marginally effective Jeopardy contestant.
The same was true as I attended Lehman College and heard the travails of novice teachers. The revelation did put my focus on writing, but I still endured the uncertainty of getting published. In 2003, “by Rich Monetti” appeared for the first time, and I had finally come home.
Much success followed, but the unsettled state of the industry has extended to me. There’s less work and far less money, but I do what I’ve always done (and what my parents always encouraged in me). I take care of what’s in front of me and persist.
That means I write every day and feel good doing it. Now, that’s a dream and you know what to do, Mom and Dad, when the next kid goes off to college.