Documentary about following dream comes to New College

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all photos courtesy of Cathy Cuthbertson

On Tuesday, Apr. 4, the Center for Career Education (CCE) hosted one of the first events to mark their move to HCL 4. “This is the time of year when students are considering the plans for the summer and after graduation,” CCE Director Cathy Cuthbertson explained to the audience. “We figured that having something like this might help motivate New College students to pursue summer jobs and post-graduation plans that appeal to them, rather than settling for a paycheck.”

The Dream Share Project was directed and produced by recent college graduates Alexis Irvin and Chip Hiden. The film follows the couple on their road trip from Maryland to California and back. According to a CBS News survey, 55 percent of Americans are unsatisfied with their current jobs, and the film was inspired when both Irvin and Hiden found themselves in this demographic, having unsatisfying desk jobs following graduation. After working for a year and hating what they were doing, they decided to save up, quit their jobs and embark on a road trip to figure out what career path they should decide on. As their trip developed, Irvin and Hiden interviewed people who had followed their dreams and considered themselves successful. The Dream Share Project integrates the stories of these individuals into the “lesson” portions of the documentary, using their personal challenges and triumphs as examples of how people can be successful even if they do not follow the typical post-university path.

The documentary itself addresses the importance of having a dream, the challenges that people face when pursuing their dreams and how to discover a passion, but after the viewing of the documentary the creators also taught a workshop on how to realize dreams. The exercises included writing down the first reactions to four questions, analyzing a typical Tuesday and seeing how the time spent on activities correlates to one’s own life plan, identifying both potential and real roadblocks, defining success and even writing a personal own obituary. Hiden and Irvin broke up the audience into pairs to share the obituaries they had written. Some followed the pattern of a typical obituary, while others were just bullet points that listed how the person wanted to be remembered, what they accomplished and who they would be survived by. There was a common desire in the audience to be well-remembered by family and to have accomplished significant work during their lifetimes.

The audience was then divided into four groups of about five people each and they were told to share their greatest roadblocks. Some common issues were lack of money, ways to implement their ideas, comparing themselves to others and fear in general. Hiden and Irvin let the whole group share ways to combat these roadblocks and the couple gave ideas of their own, including getting a part-time job to save money, setting goals without looking at the paths of others and participating in activities that allow one to practice speaking or performing in front of others.

The event closed with the audience creating their own definitions of success. Hiden and Irvin showed the group that success is not defined only as it is by (according to the documentary, “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like”) but is unique to each individual person. Hiden and Irvin currently tour colleges around the country to present their work. They will be hosting a remote learning workshop over the summer to help give students ways to follow their dreams and not get lost in the post-graduation job search.

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