Dreams From Abroad by Xinhui "Claire" Cao

My Name is Xinhui Cao and my English name is Claire. I am an international student that came from China, a Senior at UNL, and I am 21 years old.

I think I want to share with you why dreams and goals are important to me, to you, to everyone.

I had a pretty important test in my life in 2014, which is the college entrance exam. This exam almost will determine a kid’s life in the next 10 to 30 years in China. We study and prepare for it for 3 years on the first day of high school, the only thing we care about is this exam. We study at school every day from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM then we go back home and study from 8 PM until 12AM. Guess how I did on this future-determined exam? I failed it. I didn’t go to a great college, which means it would be hard to find a job after I graduate from this school. 

I always feel there is a faith deep in my heart - I want to make something of my life. Later, I had a changing point to come to study in the U.S. I studied so hard to prepare for the English test, which would help me get accepted by UNL. when I was studying for the English test I did not know why I studied way harder than I studied for the college entrance exam. There was a feeling of desire and motivation, which guided me to keep walking towards it. Finally, I made and passed the test, and I became the most excellent student among the other 30 students in my college who also came to study at UNL. When I looked back I thought about why did I study harder for the English test than the college entrance test. I will tell you because that was my dream to come to U.S. This faith always helped me to hold on when I faced all these difficulties when I prepared for studying in US. You may wonder why I did not have the same feeling or desire when I prepared for my college entrance exam; because I didn’t know what were all those tough subjects for. I didn’t know where my destination was. I did not even have a dream. I did not have anything to guide me to the future. 

Maybe when I said all of these you wouldn’t feel too much. Maybe until a day when you are in college or maybe earlier in your life. Even maybe when you handle every tough class in school. You would ask yourself a question: why am I doing all of these tough things? If you choose the what you are passionate about or have a desire in your deep heart, which tells you that is the thing I am going to do for the rest of my life and I will wake up by these. I would say congratulations you got your dream and goal in your life. However, if you did not pick the one, which would wake you up every day and make you feel happy, you will feel miserable. You will keep asking yourself what am I doing this for? It’s so hard for me to hold on to that.

Life is too short. You do need to figure out what you want. What are you passionate about, what would make you happy, and put a smile on your face. If you are a kid, a college student like me, have already started your job, if you are 50 years old, or whatever you are. It’s never too late to find your dream, because everyone deserves a dream. Then you will feel true happiness.