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It's hard to believe but it's time for yet another academic year to begin! MSTC is already on week two, while public primary/secondary school and UWSP starts up next week. It's an exciting time as Central Wisconsin gets a new crew of students in town for an enriching educational experience.

It's invigorating to think of thousands of students of varying ages coming into their unique talents and intelligences placed in them by God. Legacies are being founded! The next gen of world changers are being molded and shaped!

What great hope and joy this brings!

But some dreams... hopes... aspirations... callings... end abruptly.

Sometimes it's because of financial burdens. Tuition isn't cheap and working and going to school isn't always an option or enough.

Sometimes it's emotional. The anxiety and emotional stress of being away from home, a challenging class, or unfriendly peers can create an environment that seems entirely unmanageable.

Sometimes it's physical. Accidents happen. Whether it's an injury, a sickness, or maybe even a pregnancy, your future might abruptly change.

Take this story for example from my own past:

Just a week before our sophomore year of college began, my precious friend (and roommate) got into a horrific car accident. Her car left the road and met a river. The river flooded her car, but fortunately she was able to get out. Long story, short, she sustained a number of injuries, including substantial damage to both legs. She started classes the following week on crutches.

Regardless of the pain, regardless of the amount of time it took her to get from point a to point b, regardless of the emotional trauma, she powered through the year. She finished strong, even when the odds were against her.

She made it. Today she is talented and successful, living out her dreams.

But as this new season begins, I want to encourage students that if your dreams seem to be coming to an end, you still have the last say. Your circumstance factor into your future, your calling, your career, but they don't have to control it.

Remember, you play a part. You have the opportunity to make a choice that shapes your future. You have the option to react in a way that opens doors, or closes doors. You can make the decision to lose hope, or run head first in to it.

Remember, your dreams don't have to end because your priorities change. Sometimes, only your timeline needs to be adjusted to take the steps to experience your call!

So stay sharp, make awesome choices, and get ready to change the world! We're cheering for you and looking forward to a great 2017/2018 academic year!

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