By Helena Rodriquez
My friend Bernard likes to look at Chevy porn.
When I queried him recently about a stack of magazines piling up in his closet, he referred to these car magazines as his “Chevy porn.”
It’s no secret he is into Chevys. He even has pinups of his beloved Chevys all over his apartment. But for him, these toys are more than just a fascination, they are an inspiration … an inspiration for him to keep on trucking through college until he graduates with a teaching degree.
When we’re following a dream, it can be so easy to want to give up when the going gets tough, especially when others seem to have little expectations of us or seem to be waiting for us to fail. That’s why it’s important to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, as I constantly tell my 15-year-old daughter Laura.
In the meantime, however, we may also need a little more encouragement, and that’s why it helps to do what my friend does. Give yourself some inspiration, something to motivate you to keep on going as you focus on that finish line.
As we talked, we realized our stories have a lot in common, and I got started thinking of how common our stories are compared to others like us.
My friend was not encouraged to go to college by a high school counselor. In fact, this person painted a pessimistic picture of college for him, simply showing him the costs and expenses associated with getting a higher education but not going into detail about financial aid and the benefits that could be reaped. Consequently, my friend did not decide to go to college until many years later.
As for me, I was determined to go to college by my sophomore year in high school. One counselor told me I did not need to take advanced math classes, which were clearly recommended in a catalog for college-bound students. As a result of this bad advice, I ended up having to take remedial math classes in college.
Based on what my daughter tells me, I know that nowadays many students are being encouraged to go to college, but I still can’t help but wonder if any are falling through the cracks like we almost did just because someone doesn’t have high expectations of them.
Some people need a little more motivation and support than others, and in the case of myself and my friend, that motivation had to come from within ourselves. We had to convince ourselves that we belonged in college and were entitled to a better future, just like others, even though no one was taking us by the hand and leading us.
So if placing pictures or representations of things you want to work toward around you helps, then by all means, do it. Place these pictures or objects in a place where you can see them every day. If you’re a student, place them in your study area, so they can constantly remind you of the prize waiting for you at the end of the finish line, something that will make your hard work worth the while.
As for me, I’m into home and garden pornography, magazine spreads of my dream homes. That’s what gets me excited — a dream of someday owning a home after I complete advanced college degrees. I also dream of becoming a successful novelist, so my entry way contains a collection of books by authors who have inspired me.
If a picture, a book, or any object for that matter, can say a thousand words, then I also think they can represent countless dreams.
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: