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  • Writer's pictureEm G

Dream On!


I was often called back from other places by loud voices saying "get your head out of the clouds!" I was called a daydreamer. It was meant to be a reprimand but I felt it was a compliment. I am still a dreamer, a visionary. Is there a better way to be? It may appear that I am daydreaming, but actually I am envisioning ways to solve challenges or how to build creativity. I dream on.


Three generations of my paternal and maternal families left the southwest for better job opportunities in the midwest. They left the comfort and familiarity of their home region to risk moving the family across the continent. It was a change in life that took a great deal of courage and sacrifice by my elders. Those prior generations had a significant influence on providing me with a birthright to experience the intrigues of a major modern metropolitan city of diverse ethnicities and cultures. I dreamt differently.


I had easy access to world class museums, a philharmonic orchestra, opera, theaters, universities and libraries was an enchanted path to the arts, education and the riches of diversity while growing up in Chicago, Illinois.


I dared to break away from several traditional roles of a daughter. I remember startling my parents when I expressed my intention to attend college. I had applied to and was accepted by the University of Illinois, Columbia College and the Chicago Art Institute. My parents were opposed because of the steep financial obligations for a university education. I was deeply disappointed yet I knew it was still in my destiny to attend and graduate, from a university. A vision can also be intuitive, knowing with certainty, it is meant to be.


Life filled in with adventures of becoming a young adult. Ten years later, as a young wife and mother of two precious sons, I  enrolled in college. My vision was a decade of perseverance. As a first generation college student my path was filled with many unknowns. I leaned on advisors, and peers, to find my way around what felt like a labyrinth to graduate from college. It was not easy. I attended classes during my lunch hour, evenings, weekends, summer sessions and was the first generation to participate in online classes. I persevered. Together with my husband and our sons we multi-managed our four school schedules, our family/home responsibilities, pets, jobs, sports, events and volunteering for school/church/community projects. Through it all I maintained a high GPA through my non-stop year round university classes.


As you know nightmares are dreams too. I was only a semester away from graduation when I barely survived an auto accident on an ice laden highway returning from a "mandatory" work conference. The near fatal accident resulted in a diagnosis of permanently, partially disabled and life with chronic pain. Soon afterwards my employer eliminated my job just as I was returning to work from short term disability leave, and during the week of my beloved grandmothers funeral. It's called "Un gran susto', a large shock/scare. Life was changing!


Yet I know I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors. My family and friends gave me strength through the hardest of times, and I was able to claim my dream!


Emily J. Guerrero

Associate of Arts, University of Saint Francis

Bachelor of Arts, Indiana University






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