How Dreams Lead to Success

certificatecertificate0001“This award is God’s blessing and favor for me. He knows my desire to earn some scholarships for my college through the gifts and talents He has given me! It’s a humbling experience for me! “




The Essay Contest is sponsored by Optimist International to give young people the opportunity to write about their own opinions regarding the world in which they live. The approach can encompass a young person’s personal experience, the experience of their country or a more historical perspective. In additional to developing skills for written expression, participants also have the opportunity to win a college scholarship!

Clearly, the competition for scholarships can be intense, but with perseverance and determination, an applicant’s effectiveness can be increased. If I didn’t win, it is also a good practice and experience because winning is not the ultimate goal just like what I had written in my essay ” Every experience will direct my path to success. Success lies not in where I am going, or the results that I see, but rather it is the adventure to fulfill my destiny.”

How Dreams Lead to Success

“Once upon a time…”

A seven year old with rosy cheeks and pigtails reads her story about pandas in front of her 2nd grade class. Everyday, the teacher sets aside a little class time for story sharing—except this is the first time anyone has ever dared to read original writing. The class is enraptured, spellbound.

“Theo became the most famous panda in history,” says the girl. “The End.”

The class takes in a breath. Then, loud, enthusiastic, thunderous applause breaks open like the roar of a waterfall.

A fellow classmate gazes at her in admiration. “You’re going to be an author someday!”

The 7-year-old in me still remembers the fateful day in elementary school that jumpstarted my passion in writing. Now, my hands are perfectly curved so that my fingers fly over the keyboard, pouring my thoughts onto paper, weaving a story of my own in between time and space—a raw, mercurial place I call home. However, the dream of being an author only truly blossomed when I discovered a true gem in a book titled, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Growing up in poverty, Louisa turned to writing as an outlet. She began to sell stories about thrillers and mysteries to the local papers for large sums of money. Louisa was certainly successful by the world’s standards, but her conscience did not rest easy with the genre she wrote. In 1868, while juggling multiple jobs to support her family, she followed her heart and made the big decision to build her stories on her own experiences. Her biggest success, Little Women, reached 87,000 sales in three years after publication. Louisa received thousands of letters from girls who were touched by her plain, simple, and honest words. At the time, the timid writer in me marveled at what it took for Louisa to narrate with such a clear, compelling, and enticing voice. I admired her choice to write fiction grounded in truth instead of fantasy. Success came naturally when Louisa stuck to her heart’s desire with fierce determination and a leap of faith.

Without action, a dream is merely a far-off fantasy. Triumph belongs to those who are prepared. In the 1950’s, when a poor small town girl read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Oprah Winfrey connected so deeply that it reinforced her love of literature. She said in an interview, “I would take out five books, and I would have a little reading time every day. That’s what encouraged me to become a great reader. Who knew I was going to grow up to have my own book club?” When opportunity knocked on her door, Oprah was ready with her education. At 17, she received a 4-year college scholarship and went on her trajectory towards becoming host of her very own talk show. The wisdom that she received throughout the years and her desire to be in the world of journalism led her to be who she is today.

Every dream has a beginning, but never an end. Louisa May Alcott showed me that when reaching a crossroads, choosing the untraveled path is a risk worth taking. Oprah Winfrey inspired me to arm myself with education, perseverance, and determination to leap through windows of opportunities.

Yet, what is the true meaning of success? Oprah once said, “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” Success is not crossing over a finished line. It is the little validations received along the way. Of all my accomplishments in writing, perhaps the greatest feat of all is not that I have command over words, but that my dreams and passions fill the sails of my ship.

“We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving, and we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing,” said Louisa May Alcott. When chasing the horizons, I know I will have to leap over hurdles. Even so, every experience will direct my path to success. Success lies not in where I am going, or the results that I see, but rather it is the adventure to fulfill my destiny.


About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation .

Posted on March 7, 2014, in Editor's Column. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Such an amazing honor Cassie. I’m so happy for you. You’ve worked so hard and really deserve it.

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