“A World of Possibilities”

Anna Dooner

Anna Dooner received the Casey Feldman Foundation’s Springfield High School Scholarship this year for her ambitious career goals and her touching and impressive essay, “A World of Possibilities.” She graduated from Springfield High School in 2021 and is now a freshman at Temple University. Anna’s response to the question “Where do you envision yourself 20 years from now?” is published below. 

A World of Possibilities

From the beginning of education, even as a child, everyone is asked what they want to be when they grow up. While we are young, our ambitions are high and we believe we can conquer the world by becoming president, an Olympic athlete, or any other nearly impossible goal. As our age climbs, reality sets in. We come to face the fact that those goals are not necessarily attainable, unless you are one like former president Barack Obama or four time gold medalist Laura Trott. Looking back now, I can remember being asked this question in almost every year of school, and every time I had one similarity between my answers— to help others, or more specifically, the Earth and all that is part of it.

Like every other child, I jumped from this to that in terms of where I will be in 20 years, but I almost always came back to one specific goal—  to care for the environment. When I was six years old, I started telling people I would become a marine biologist and help save the Earth.

Ambitious, I know. Honestly, I doubt I even knew what a marine biologist was then but something in my gut told me that’s what I was meant to do. I saw how people disrespected Earth and didn’t care for the one place that is our main source of life, and it broke my heart as a young girl. That was where my yearn to help others began. When I was seven years old, I began collecting donations for the local animal shelter and discouraging the use of plastic water bottles at my school. For my eighth birthday, I used the money given to me to sponsor three cats in a shelter so they could find a home. At ten, I heard about the tsunami that hit Haiti and how it left the people struggling to cope, so I began a raffle basket and performed concerts for my neighbors to raise money and gave it to an organization that helped with relief. Since then, I’ve been contributing to the environment by cleaning waste off of the beach, discouraging plastic use, becoming a social media ambassador for an eco-friendly brand, and overall creating a more sustainable lifestyle. In 20 years, I see myself still doing this, but on a larger scale.

I’ve always wanted to travel and see the world, like many people, but I hope to incorporate this into my career. Perhaps I’ll be a spokesperson for a green company that educates people around the world on the importance of fighting global warming, or work in politics and  meet with ambassadors to unite and fight it together. There are those huge ambitions again, but what’s life without dreams? I’d be okay with working at a small company in one place or an activist for a non-profit if I meant I was making a difference. I’ve also never loved studying science, but if it means I will do what I love for the rest of my life, then it is worth it.

So, in all honesty, I’m not sure of where I’ll be in 20 years. I know I’ll have a career in an environmental-related area, probably living in small house by the beach with lots of cats and a dog (I’m a sucker for pets, especially strays), a big garden where I can grow my own fruits and vegetables, I know I want to foster kids or maybe have my own, and I hope to eventually own a bookstore cafe. If I can achieve all of those things, I’ll have attained the dream life, but I can’t say I know exactly where life will lead me. To say the least, I am a very indecisive person with a great deal of dreams in a world of endless possibilities.

I’m unsure exactly what my career will be or if I will be married with kids or where I will be living, but I know in 20 years, even 50, I’ll still be the little girl who picked up microplastics off the beach with a strainer and saved frogs in my neighbors chlorine-filled pool. I’ve always been that girl and in my future, I still will be.

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