I’m working on it: Paying for dreams

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Photo by Kiana Kamalu

Here lies Amanda in her last moments, applying to every scholarship and financial aid offer on the face of the earth until she got buried under all the requirements. Don't be like her: start early and finish early!

By Amanda Lee, News co-editor

When I was a kid, everyone told me to dream big, to go for the gold, to do whatever I wanted and not be afraid of limitations. Unfortunately though, those dreams cost money, lots of money, something that all those inspirational people in my life forgot to tell me.

However, there is a solution to this! It’s called Financial Aid. I am having some very mixed feelings about it though.

In fact, my relationship with scholarships in general is turning into one of the “love-hate” type.

At first I used to be pretty gung-ho about it. I was extremely motivated, a real go-getter who was stoked to be filling out these applications to get FREE MONEY!!

You can imagine, I was pretty excited about the concept of free money, especially after months of working at Subway for my minimum wage paycheck.

But then the applications seemed to get longer. It wasn’t just one essay anymore it was two, then it was three, and then, unbelievably enough, it was four. I ask you, what kind of scholarship thinks it’s so special that it can demand four essays from a measly high school student?

All of a sudden my drive to keep plugging onward was starting to fade and die out. I began to get irritated and frustrated at every question they wanted an answer for and didn’t type out my responses lovingly, with care to include every special detail. I began to type them out furiously, abusing my keyboard and counting the characters until I could deem it “good enough.”

That, dear readers, is the source of my problem. Somewhere between filling out my name and address and writing down my achievements in school, I lost the desire to be “best” to continually work for “better” and settled for “good enough.”

I got a reality check after having to spend an entire day freaking out and picking up the slack from a scholarship I turned in half-heartedly. Things were missing, essays weren’t written, it was an awful, hectic, and depressing situation.

But, it showed me something. It showed me how low I had stooped. I had gone from being on the ball to running for my life to avoid being crushed by it.

What it all boils down to is this: People won’t be reading hard-hitting, tear-inducing news stories written by Amanda Lee editor-in-chief of her own paper if I don’t get my act together (and quickly at that!) Just because I want something doesn’t mean that I’m going to get it without some hard work.

So, my advice to all of you wonderful dreamers is to keep dreaming. But since the chances are that the dreams you conjure are going to be big, expensive, and hard to achieve, be ready to work for them.

One thing that you can hold on to when you’re feeling beat down by all the work that is towering against you as you try to make your dream a reality? It is possible!

Good luck everyone, and don’t give up! I’ll be right there with you working my behind off and sacrificing precious hours of sleep for that “free” money.

(And to any scholarship committee member who might be reading this: I’ve worked hard, really, I have. Got scholarships?)