Growing up in a small town surrounded by corn fields often made it difficult to dream outside of my surroundings. It wasn’t until my youth leader in high school started asking me questions like, “What is your purpose? What is the calling that has been placed on your life? What are the gifts that you have been given to help others?” that I began to dream outside of my own little world and pursue a purpose greater than myself.

Learning to Dream

Learning to dream was a challenging process for me. As I started seeking my “purpose in life,” I felt my heart beginning to break for people groups and countries around the world that I had never met or been to before. Imagining an entire world outside of a small town of roughly 3,200 people was overwhelming and almost incomprehensible.

Despite the unknowns that lied outside of the confines of my small community, I continued to explore the passions that were forming in my heart. I quickly developed a passion for stories; the stories of people. It was in this time of exploration that I learned of the influential power stories have. I realized that no one can deny someone’s personal experience.  

However, as my passion for reading the stories of people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds grew, I became more and more confused. I didn’t understand how I could have a heart for someone I had never actually met. I didn’t understand how I could long to be in a country that I had never been to before.

I was lost in a time of uncertainty. I was feeling a call on my heart to pursue a purpose greater than myself but the pressure to figure out what I was going to do with my life as a junior in high school was real. It was in this time of confusion that the people around me began to chime in.

“Go chase your dreams,” they said.

Chasing the Dream

Most often a dream is not limited to financial stability, practicality, or sustainability. As I began dreaming about a career of sharing the stories of people all around the world, I began to ignore the price tag on college tuition. Sharing my dream of traveling around the world as a filmmaker to share the stories of others and raise my own income caused the people that told me, “Go chase your dreams,” to chime in once again.

“Except for that dream,” they said.

Choosing to Continue the Pursuit

In today’s society, we are told as juniors and seniors in high school to figure out what we are going to do with our lives. We are told to go to college so that we can get a good job and make a lot of money. Is that all?

Making money is a great thing and we need to make money to have stability in our lives, support organizations and causes around the world, and provide for our families. But is making money all that we are after?

I want my mission in life to be greater than just making a bunch of money. Even if it means living unconventionally, I want to live out a purpose greater than myself. Today I am pursuing more than just a bachelor’s degree. Today I am pursuing the call on my life to share the stories of people all around the world.

Despite the negative reactions I often get from people when I tell them my dream is focused more on people and less on money, I have chosen to continue the pursuit of my dream. Additionally, I have chosen to get an education that will help make my dreams become a reality.

Watching My Dreams Become Reality

Since making the choice to chase my dream, even if it means not having a full bank account, it has been incredible to watch my dream unfold and become more of a reality. Today I am pursuing a degree in Communications and a minor in Mass Communications and Training & Development here at WSU.

After graduation I hope to use what I have learned at WSU and work for a small business that uses filmmaking and other forms of digital media to help share the stories of missionaries and non-profit organizations all over the world. I hope to provide services to help these missionaries share the incredible work they are doing as well as help equip the missionaries to eventually do it themselves.

Doing so will hopefully boost their fundraising efforts so the missionaries and non-profits can continue to focus on the work they were called to do. This is how I plan to use my major for a greater purpose, to serve others, and to make a difference in this world.

What are you called to do in this world? What is your greater purpose? How are you able to use your gifts and talents to serve others? I encourage you to ask yourself these questions even if it means going against the norms of our society. Dreams aren’t meant to be ordinary or conventional. They are unique and have the power to lead you somewhere extraordinary. 

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Erin Kloepping

Erin is a Communications major with an emphasis in Leadership and Advocacy who is graduating in 2019. She is from Brodhead, WI and her interests include videography and foreign mission trips.