Dreams Make Believer

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Growing up I had dreams of becoming a professional baseball player or even an astronaut but there was one dream I had that I knew would happen some day. I wanted to take a backpacking trip around Italy. Every time I would visit with my grandfather he would tell me, “Max, I’ve been to Italy eight times. It is the most beautiful place in the world, and you would be a fool not to go there in your lifetime.” As a kid, I always thought this would happen some day when I was middle aged and in a good financial state. Although I put off thinking about it certain that it would be impossible to go while I was young. Last year my brother studied abroad in Ferrara, Italy. When my brother raved about the magnificent art, the beautiful scenery, and the kindness of our distant family that still lived there, I thought about my dream again. My brother visited with my mom’s side of the family that lives in Matera, and he said he ate the best food of his whole life and was happy to be acquainted with distant family. He met a cousin who speaks English which enabled him to communicate with the rest of the family. He told me that hands down the most beautiful artwork he saw was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome and the Statue of David in Florence. Before my brother went I would always read about the Statue of David in books but I remember seeing my brother’s slideshow of pictures and hearing him say, “At first the statue was just a 17 foot piece of marble but now look at it.” Reading about the statue in a book doesn’t compare to talking about it with someone who has gone to Florence and seen the statue in person. When he returned from his semester abroad, he even won a national scholarship to go back to Italy for another semester. My grandfather gave my brother all the paperwork to apply for the scholarship and my brother was fortunate enough to win. At first he doubted he would win the scholarship because he said that the previous winner was a Harvard student and he wasn’t sure if he was as qualified. That is when I decided to make plans of my own to go to Italy. I talked to my brother and he said that when he finished school in June we could go backpacking together across Italy. Since my brother speaks excellent Italian he would ease the language barrier, and I would have an experienced traveler with me in a foreign country.

The only thing that has kept me away from going to Italy in the past is money. But now I have a goal to go in June. To pursue my goal, I am working like a madman balancing school and work. I’m happy to say that my job doesn’t require tedious work since I work in the produce department of Shaw’s Supermarket but there will be some school weeks where I will put in at least 20 hours on top of homework. Some nights I will have loads of homework that I won’t be able to start until eight o’clock because I’ll be at work all day straight from school. Two days ago my friends wanted me to go with them to Hooters in Milford, but I turned down this opportunity to eat wings and converse with my friends because I put my goal in perspective I thought to myself, “Max, why waste your money going to a restaurant when you can eat at home. Save your money for the trip because every dollar counts and the more money I have there the better off I am.” I’d rather save up my money to eat authentic food in Italy than some greasy wings at Hooters that I can get anytime. One of the biggest hurdles that I have to overcome is missing out on weekend activities with my friends. Working on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night means I can make good money because I can work longer shifts because they aren’t school nights. This is especially important because a roundtrip plane ticket will be close to $1,000 and then I will need spending money there. But those are also great nights to go out and have some fun with my friends. Last Saturday my friends went to a concert in New Haven and they wanted me to go with them but I had to refuse because I was working from 3 to 9 and I would rather make the money for the trip than spend it.

Working and saving up for my goal has taught me a lot. I have learned at a young age the importance of saving up money and also not giving up on my dream. I know many people my age without jobs and I consider myself lucky to have a job. And some days when I’m tired of my hectic schedule I stop and think to myself, “In the end this will all be worth it. I will be following my dream and proving to everyone that I know how to reach for the top.” If I didn’t set big goals for myself I would have nothing to look forward to and I would be working and saving money for no purpose. Without a purpose and a drive I probably would have quit my job along time ago. Why deal with a 20 hour work week on top of school when I could be going out with my friends.





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