Danielle E. Alvarez
Lives In: Paris, France
Current Job: Graduate student (Digital Project Manager at PageYourself – internship)
Ultimate Dreams: Have more than one “home,”be proud of the work I do, make a positive impact on society, and eventually, have a healthy family.
What are you doing to attain your dream?
My ultimate dreams probably seem basic, but they’re bigger than even I realized. I tend to have trouble with the status quo. Before graduating from college, I thought I’d continue dating my boyfriend, move to New York City (30 minutes from my hometown), and get a job at a food, health, or travel magazine or website. That alone would’ve been satisfying, right? What happened was that I became single, found jobs at startups where I did editorial and social media work, and eventually moved to the city only to find I felt “stuck” there. Plus, I realized writing about different parts of the world was not nearly as amazing as experiencing them. After much deliberation (and tears), I decided I needed to readjust my pre-determined course so I signed up for the GREs and started filling out master’s program applications. Now I’m interning at a Parisian startup (I finished my coursework this past summer) as I prepare my research for next semester. I can’t tell you what happens after that–and when some of my peers are getting married (congratulations again, Katie!), pregnant, and/or more settled into their original careers that’s a bit unsettling–but my enthusiasm for my impending thesis reassures me that I’m on the right track for me.
What do you think you ultimately need to attain your dreams?
Less doubt. More passion. I will probably never stop being scared, but as I get more mature with age and experience, I’m becoming more sure of my ability to “make shit happen.”
Have you attained any dreams? If so, what were they and what did you do to attain them?
What’s funny is that looking back I realize I’ve had this ability to “make shit happen” in me long before I actually recognized it.
In high school, for instance, I stumbled across an exciting and expensive leadership program in DC. Unfortunately, my parents couldn’t afford to send me. Rather than be disappointed and move on though, I sifted through the website and found they offered a select number of scholarships. I applied, got it, and months later, my dad drove me down to Washington, DC for an inspiring, all-expenses-paid experience.
Another example is my solo cross-country road trip. The idea came from a conversation between my best friend and I, but in the end, she couldn’t afford to join. Again I improvised. I knew if I didn’t take the opportunity to drive across the country as an unemployed recent college graduate, I probably wouldn’t get the chance to do so until I was older and retired, if at all. So, I mapped out my intended route, determined where I needed to stop and when, and spoke about my loose plan as often as I could. I ended up meeting friends and family and friends of family and friends across the country. As for the places I couldn’t find a connection, I turned to CouchSurfing. Not only did doing so allow me to make the trip on a tight budget (mostly grad party money) but also visit new places with locals and meet some of the most inspiring strangers-turned-friends.
What’s your advice to other dreamers?
Don’t accept “it’s just the way it is.” You can move in the right direction without making crazy, inconceivable changes to your current situation. Take one step at a time. There are no supposed-to’s. As long as you’re spending your time with people and activities that make you feel good, that is enough. That good feeling means you’re doing it right. Then again, as soon as you feel a little bit off, mix things up. With your intentions and values in mind, adjust your schedule or relationship(s)/job/living situation as needed. You’re entitled to your own path and all of it’s successes (and failures). Revel in that gift. Take chances. Scare yourself. I promise things will turn out better than you ever imagined. And if at any point you realize you haven’t reached that dream you’d envisioned at 12 or 21, ask yourself as to whether or not your current self cares. Our dreams evolve as our priorities do and that’s actually a wonderful thing.
Thank you so much for sharing your adventure Danielle! Who else wants to travel after reading this? Best of luck with your thesis : the communicative relationship between diversity issues and “ethnic” food scenes in notably international cities: New York, London, Paris. I can’t wait to hear about some of your findings!