Thursday, February 12, 2009

What did I begin?


When I was a senior in high school I applied to four colleges. FOUR. I got into two and the others...well it was their loss. The two I got into were BYU and Cal State Long Beach. Random? Yes. You see, I had no idea what I was doing when I was 16. I thought I wanted something specific out of college, explaining, perhaps, why I only applied to California schools willingly (BYU was to appease my mother, who thought I needed saving, which I did). Ironically, as everyone knows, I ended up going to BYU, though I swore I would never in a million years go there.

Let us fast forward now to 2006 when, to my surprise, my little sister Mary, who also swore she would never go to BYU, is practically forced to because her dream Ivy Leaguer turned her down (it was a shock to me too...). And now were to 2009, where my next sister Anna, who isn't as much of a hater and Mary and I, decides to give up her short-lived dream of going to a small liberal arts college in Ohio and applies only to BYU!!!! Anna, who had the most shot of NOT being forced to come here because she didn't get into her dream school (I guess what I didn't realize is that maybe BYU is Anna's dream school).

Regardless, I have now started a tradition in the Downs family that I have mixed feelings about. I want my siblings to go to the college they want to go to. If its BYU, great. It's a good place. And if I learned to love it, I think most people can. I just hope they don't come here because its 'the road already traveled'. Or because its easy.
Let me end with a poem by Langston Hughes, dedicated to all of us who dream big and are disappointed even bigger.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I hope we can all have the guts to go after what we really want. It may be the hardest thing we will ever do.

4 comments:

Megan said...

Amen. I find that often times I talk big but when it comes down to it,I'm afraid to do big things. The people I respect the most are the ones who overcome this fear and are able to make things happen.

Jeka said...

I think that the pressure of the eldest is great. However, in the end, what the siblings do after you is not your doing. They have to make their choices.:) And hey, if you learned to love BYU, at least they get a pretty good education right?:)

Kelly Downs said...

I really liked your insight! Not a surprise, you are MY daughter after all. I think Anna may be wanting that link with her sisters, but if that brings her where she wants to be I am happy for her. Interesting poem, do you have regrets then?

anna said...

well, i guess one reason why i pocked BYU was because it going to be easy. meaning i'll have family and friends there. ut i also picked it because...it really is a good school, with an excellent language department, with all the classes i want to take, and with a low fee.