Dreams of Flight

Brittany - Willowbrook, Illinois
Entered on May 11, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“When you grow up, you can be absolutely anything that you want to be.”

I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve heard that exact line. Teachers, librarians, relatives, and virtually every adult in the world tells that to virtually every child in the world, starting with infancy. To me, the only people who actually meant that, are my parents; they seem to be the only people who actually know what I love to do and want to do.

When every child is little, in kindergarten or elementary school, their teacher asks them what they want to be when they grow up. They usually say “I wanna be president,” or “I wanna be an astronaut.” Now being sixteen, I can imagine what the teacher must have thought about those answers: impossible dreams. Children always want to do everything, even what most people think could be impossible. Since I was first asked that question so long ago, I can’t even imagine what I must have said, but I’m sure that it must have been along those “seemingly impossible” lines.

Ever since I was little, though, I have had a love which most people have never been able to understand. I have always wanted to be a pilot-astronaut and be able to fly higher, faster, and farther than anyone else in the world. When a person is young and tells others that, however, they don’t believe the child, because at one point or another everyone wants to do just that. As I get older, I feel a stronger passion for my goal and dream, but having people not have faith in me isn’t what is holding me back.

I’m a girl. Sugar, spice, and everything nice, right? So how would being a pilot-astronaut fit into that little rhyme? I personally don’t think that it does, unless you really spice up the spice part! There used to be a general consensus in the world that girls were supposed to grow up to be teachers or housewives or secretaries. Sure, for some it worked, but I feel like I need to do something a little bit more out there… literally. I mean, no matter who you are, when you think of a pilot or astronaut, an image of a man usually comes to mind, even for me. That’s all due to the society in which we have grown up. It was not until STS-7, which launched in June 1983, that an American woman first flew in space. In fact, it was not until STS-93, in July 1999, that the first American woman became the commander of a mission. That’s all due to our male-dominated world. I remember my mom once telling me that the news anchor Anne Curry wanted to be an astronaut too; my mom said that she wrote in to NASA, asking what the requirements were. They wrote her back saying that she needed to be a man. My mom heard that Hillary Clinton did the same thing and NASA wrote her back with the same result, too.

You see, the point is that I believe that women can do absolutely anything that a guy can do. There have been several cases of women getting the cold shoulder in the aviation and aerospace world, and I intend to not be one of them. I have a passion which can not be diminished. I believe that dreams do come true, and women are capable of anything a man can do. It may, no, it will, take time for the minds of people around the world to realize my belief, but if one person proves that she can do it, that time will come much sooner. That’s what I believe.