True: What is any life without the pursuit of a dream?
False: Pursue a dream at any costs.
I know that sounds cold...but I'm sorry to say...Dream sellers like Sallie Mae have a very steep price to pay to follow a dream.
HOWEVER...there are ways around pricey educations.
As I said before, you have to figure yourself out at heart. And it varies person to person. Some have an idea by 16-17 and that's wonderful. But don't feel guilty if you don't have a clue on what to do by 22. No matter what anyone says, don't feel guilty if you haven't figured it out by 30.
So...basically, here is what I suggest.
Figure out a dream or dreams that you have. And goals. To me, a dream can be anything from being a rock star to pursuing engineering. A goal, could be simple, owning your own home, having a family...having a summer and winter home perhaps.
Try to make the dream realistic.
Not saying you won't be a rock star or an actor, but just know that even rock stars and actors had a job like everyone else.
If you have an idea for a career, get in contact with several people in the field. Don't just stick with one, go with several. Remember to ask how they started out, what they did and what they recommend.
Same works for when you're in college, never be afraid to ask a professor what his/her path had been in the field.
Now, I do have to warn you about some professions and schools. For example, careers in art and culinary fields. With shows like Emeril and Iron Chef, some believe they'll go to special culinary school on loans and come out with their own tv show. Only, it's not the case as the field is high competitive and a graduate will find him or herself stuck in a low paying job and struggle to repay the loan.
However, I know of a friend who just went to a vocational school after high school, did her years there and worked her way through the kitchens to attain her status as chef. And she did it without going to a high priced school.
In my case, I had once thought about majoring in graphic design so I went to a high priced art school. The path didn't work out. However, a friend of mine went to a state school for design, nearly 14,000 dollar tuition difference, graduated and eventually was hired as a lead designer for a company. I know many others from the high priced school who didn't even get that.
I firmly apply that to writing as well. I look through writing magazines and see these expensive courses and classes for writers. I know for a fact that the likes of Stephen King did not sign up for expensive classes. Stories come from within and there is no teacher that can just place an imaginative story at your finger tips.
So, just explore all options for a dream, even if it begins at a community college, technical or vocational school or even if you have to wait a little bit for a dream to come.
But if you must pursue a dream at an exclusive high priced school, like Stanford or Harvard or Rhode Island School of Design...well, there are options for that too.
Don't let Sallie Mae sell you a false dream...go out and find those other options. And sometimes, options are in form of scholarships and grants!