Chase your dreams, but do not be afraid of changing it.

“Follow your dream, live your passion, Carpe diem (seize the day)..” — is a mantra that we constantly hear. Life, however, does not live by a codified set of mantras — it is a roller coaster, navigating us through the ups and downs. Sharada’s story is a perfect example of this.

Sharada , was often described by her friends as dramatic — she loved being in the spotlight, interacting with people and was involved in school plays. She was keen on pursuing theatre after standard XII. There were arguments at home, especially with her father, who felt that she should pursue a degree in management while continuing her interest in theatre as a hobby. It was at this stage, that they consulted a career counsellor who offered a third perspective. She asked Sharada to intern at a local professional theatre company during her vacation.

Misconception

It was a decision that changed her life. Her experience with the professional company was an eye-opener. She realised that her dreams of being in theatre was based on perceptions of glamour. The long working hours, erratic schedules and the lack of an appropriate financial compensation was a hard lesson in reality. The demands were different from the school plays she had been involved in. She also realised that more than the acting, she enjoyed coordinating with the actors and working with light and sound. During her discussion with theatre professionals, she was able to broaden her horizon on the scope of theatre. After her three-month internship, she revisited her goals and with the support of her father and worked on reinterpreting her dreams.

Sharada went on to complete her degree in management. Meanwhile, she enrolled in a short course in Light and Sound Design. Today, Sharada works in a PR company, managing and coordinating media events and is involved in her local theatre group as a production assistant.

What is important:

It is important that you follow your dream, but avoid alienating your family. Discuss your fears and apprehensions with them and show them that you are open to suggestions. Do your homework. This will also help you earn brownie points with your family!

Networking helps you build contacts. Talk to people in the field. Opt for a summer job or internship in the area of your interest. Do not have high expectations from the internship. You might be the ‘go buy coffee’ person. Use it to observe, learn, and assimilate.

Understand the core skills involved. For example, if it involves writing, start by honing that skill by doing small writing jobs. Your future employees will be impressed with your foresight. Use the internet as a valuable research tool. Read blogs which offer advice. But discover the truth yourself.

Finally, do not be afraid to change your dreams. Remember, they are not written in stone. Many successful people have worked in various fields and used them as a stepping stone to find out what they are good at. John Travolta, the actor, is also a pilot and has said that the two fields, as disparate as they seem, have complemented each other.

While not knowing is scary, it really is the best place to start. Once you acknowledge that you do not know, you will realise that there are people to help you on your journey.