“You can do anything you put your mind to!”
“You can be anything you want!”
These are common phrases told to children. We try to remind our kids that they can become anything in the world. But is this true? The reality is, many kids can be who they want, with stipulations. You can do anything you put your mind to as long as your mind is like societies. You can be anyTHING you want but not anyONE. Dream big but.... make sure your dreams can make a lot of money.
When I began college, the reality was not that I was there to be who or what I wanted. The reality was that my mom worked two jobs to make sure that I even got there and I needed to go to school to be able to get a job that would fund my life, not my dreams. So, engineering it was. I was good at math so it made sense at the time. I knew I’d graduate school with a stable career. But I’ve never been one to get stuck in “realities” so I didn’t stick with it.
What is reality?
I decided to switch my major and ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Miami (GO CANES). I majored in Electronic Media and minored in Mathematics (I really was good in math and loved it lol). Many months after graduating, I finally secured a job that’d lead me to the place I call home now: Tampa. My tenure at UM and my professional journey after graduating, though, has made me realize that some kids are told to “dream big” but they really aren’t expected to.
How do you convince a kid with limited resources that they “can do anything”? How is a child supposed to believe they can be anything they want when all they really need is money? How do you tell a kid to “dream big” and then walk away?
You can’t. You can’t just say that and walk away. Kids and their dreams need to be nurtured. They don’t only need encouraging words, but encouraging examples. They will believe that they can be anything they want by seeing it.
I have friends who went to school to become lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, you name it! It is so beautiful seeing Black faces represented in so many different industries! But what about the non-conventional careers? What if I want to sing? What if I want to make videos uplifting the Black community? What if I want to bake cookies? When I switched my major to communications, I was told by someone that I oughta have a backup plan because what kind of job could I guarantee with a communications degree. But if that was my dream, why did I need a back up plan?
I used to say "Black kids can’t dream big.” Not because we actually couldn’t but because of the systemic oppression we experience everyday. But the truth is, we can. We just have to change the narrative. We have to be bold enough to pursue our dreams so that we can set an example for generations to come. We must confidently walk in our purpose and lift as we climb.
What if every child reached their full potential?
Oh, how wonderful this world would be! One of my biggest goals in life is to be an example to a new generation of Black kids. I vow to be who I need to be no matter the difficulties I encounter. I vow to show, not only tell, them that they too can dream big and be ANYTHING. I vow to be me, unapologetically, and to encourage others to do the same!