Is Following Your Dream Really Worth it?

Before I get into the bulk of this post, I’d like to take a minute and apologize for the lack of posts lately- I came down with a pretty bad cold accompanied by a fever, and I’m just now getting on my feet.

Anyway, this post isn’t what I originally had planned for today, but it’s been on my mind lately… is following your dream really worth it?

Let me elaborate.  As long as I can remember, my dream has been to travel.  I have countless places on my bucket list (maybe I’ll do a post on that someday), but one that is especially important to me is Paris.  Ever since was a child, I’d wanted to live in France.  Then, in middle school when I started taking French classes, I absolutely fell in love with the French and Parisian culture.  I remember the French classes took a trip to Paris over spring break- I wanted to go so badly, and I tried to start selling my things and starting “businesses” and asking for donations, but it never happened.  Fast forward a few years, and here I am, thinking about college.

There a few that I think would be a good match for me, but one jumps out the most: The American University of Paris.  It’s beautiful; every single one of their degree programs are ones I’ve considered for a career, including environmental science, film studies, history, politics, writing, and literature; and it’s in the city of my dreams.  Everything about it is everything I’ve always wanted, except one thing: the price.

It is crazy expensive and way beyond my price range.  I know there are plenty of options including financial aid and student loans, but it will still be extremely difficult.  And if I did make it happen, here’s what it would look like: constant part-time jobs, leading to an extremely busy schedule with no time (or money) to explore the city; most likely a degree in English that may not even get me anywhere; no money for a plane ticket to visit my family in the U.S.; and a lifetime of student loans that would prevent me from living out the rest of my dreams.

This brings me to the underlying question: is it worth it?  It’s my dream, but will my life really be better if I find a way to make it happen?  People often say to follow your dreams, to never let anything stop you, especially finances, but I don’t know if that is really the best option.  The picture I see of my struggles in Paris isn’t ideal, but is it worse to not even try?

When I imagine my life at some other boring, affordable college, living in a dorm, taking classes in some tedious subject that will lead to a tedious yet “successful” career, never getting a chance to travel and live out my dreams, it makes me shudder, more so than living out my dreams on a tight budget.  I understand it isn’t “exciting but poor life” or “boring but financially safe life”- nothing is black or white like that, but it certainly feels that way.

What do you think?

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