Cliché Alert: Don’t Stop Dreaming About the “Big Break”

“Don’t give up!” “Never stop fighting!” “Even your wildest of dreams can come true if you only believe!” While these may look like slogans from upcoming Disney films, they do hold true in just about every aspect of life, including employment and education.

I’m going to take a break from the norm in this blog, and give a personal account of exactly what “dreaming big” has brought me.

Most post-secondary programs leave you with a range of options when you finally step through the doors and into adulthood and your career—except, of course, when you choose radio broadcasting. Now, going to college for broadcasting can make you want to pull your hair out: 24-hour runs in an editing suite, piling a year’s worth of stats into a prep sheet, and the worry of dreadful dead air—and that’s just the first week!

I know that all schooling or training programs bring their own unique sets of challenges, but anytime you find yourself feeling down, remember this: you chose this field because it’s something you love and really want to spend the rest of your life doing.

When I began my journey at the College of Sports Media in 2008, I thought it would be easy. How hard could it be to write zany one-liners and talk about sports? Well, two internships, a part-time job and a lot of long days later, I realized that the people I looked up to on both radio and television sacrificed a great deal to get where they were—and that’s exactly what I needed to do too.

After school, I moved around a lot and tried out different market sizes until I landed in Ottawa. It was a five-year process which took me to Pembroke, Gananoque, Oshawa, Toronto and finally the National Capital Region. Was it easy? No. Would I change anything? Not a chance.

Your career is like a marriage: if you want it to be the best it can be, you can’t stop working at it. “Dreamer” is a title that, sadly, is sometimes used to describe people that society labels as “lazy.” But I would gladly argue for a dreamer over someone who simply gives up and settles for the first full-time job that comes along.

The finest example I can think of actually comes from my own family. My older brother, Chris, is almost 30 and in his 12th year of post-secondary education. A professor at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, told Chris, “You’ll never make anything of yourself if you pursue this career. No money, no jobs, no future.” Chris is back in Canada now, finishing up his masters degree in architecture at the University of Toronto.

I wouldn’t say it to him (and hopefully he won’t read this) but I’m proud of him. He took a hell of a mental battering—this professor was someone who was supposed to be helping him in his career. In the end he was able to turn it into something positive and make something rather nice for himself when it is all done and dusted.

I’ll leave you with this: when you sleep, you can dream about whatever you darn well please. Why not do the same when you’re awake and try to shape your life the way you want it? Because when you swing for the fences, you’re giving yourself the chance to hit a grand slam.

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