The Fit Student—Broke & Time Crunched?

Seek Doorways to Your Dreams!

Businesswoman with way to success

Don’t ever stop dreaming, even if you don’t have the cash or time to achieve your biggest aspirations.  You can still tread forward until the time is right.  And then—bam!—you’re on track to claim the prize.

If your dream is to become a doctor, nurse, or certified accountant, then (to state the obvious) you’ll need a formal education.  But if you’re broke and can’t carve out years to dedicate to studies, you still may have all you need to realize your dream, but through a modified path at first.

Instead of a doctor or nurse, you could become a health coach.  Instead of a certified accountant, you could prepare taxes.  Instead of a computer programmer, well, you could still become a computer programmer, but one without a degree.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Once you gain momentum, that’s when you can veer back on track for the grand prize.  By momentum, I mean more knowledge, more experience, more credentials, more incentive, possibly more pay, maybe more time, but definitely more confidence.  That means more doors open.

So, what dreams will you realize ten years from today?

“Imagine your life as a video.  Now fast-forward ten years.  If you could have a fairy godmother waving her magic wand, what would your life be like? What would you be doing, with whom and where? How would you be feeling?” (33%).

Even if you’re thrilled with your life today, and don’t want anything to change, try to stretch yourself so that you step into an uncomfortable path.  Yes, you need to grow, just like a rose.  You need to learn life lessons.  You need to seek new ways to share your gifts.  That’s why you’re here.

But don’t just blindly pick a dream.  Make sure it aligns with your personality, values, and strengths.  That way, you’ll muster the heartaches that spring up with every dream come true.

But assess your dream first.

Sort out what might help or hinder your goal-getting.

“Journal … ‘What might help and hinder me’.  Make a subheading, ‘Things that could help me’, and then list the things that might help you to achieve your goal.  Make another subheading, ‘Things that could hinder me’, and list the things that might get in the way of your goal” (49%).

You might be cash-strapped like me.  That’s okay.  There are workarounds.  No matter what hinders you, someone in this world has overcome it.  That means you’ve got it in you, too, tiger.

The closer you get to your goal, the more opportunities that arise.  Even hardships can turn into opportunities; for instance, students who’ve grown up in the slums have become millionaires.  And a sweet little girl with cancer and a YouTube makeup channel became an overnight celebrity.  I don’t remember her name, but I sure remember her smile.

So, what are workarounds when you’re broke?

If money hinders your goal, seek free learning opportunities.

The Open University says, if strapped for cash, “rather than acquiring knowledge and skills through taking formal academic courses, you could find other open educational resource[s] … or you might acquire them through voluntary work, by visiting the library on a regular basis, or by learning from others or by trial-and-error learning” (51%).  You could also tryjoining different social groups or community organisations [and] try out new roles or activities within organisations to which you currently belong–for example, becoming treasurer of a club you belong to” (55%).

And books—oh, gloriously affordable books—speed up most any dream.  (But if you’re not a reader, then no worries: creating and experiencing things are part of lifelong learning, too.)

So, seek books that help you achieve your dream.

“Many … different sorts of books … provide new insights and ideas [and] help us learn techniques that will save us time.  All types of writing can have these effects, including novels and poetry, as well as non-fiction, including self-help manuals, documentaries and biographies” (61%).

Books can bring you money, success, happiness—even peace.  What books you choose to read usher you toward your surprise.  One book can change a life!

While books can forge you closer to your dreams, so can the people in your life.

Spend time with people who can help you.

“So, it is really useful to have other people who: have the knowledge and skills that we need … ; have the equipment we need – or know somebody else who does … ; are prepared to arrange a loan or to make a mutually acceptable swap of resources; … act as our role models; cheer us up … ; have the networks and the know-how; … give us constructive criticism; … and bolster our sense of self-worth” (52%).

If you don’t have any such people in your life, seek them out.  When I naively dreamed of making a film on my life story, I picked up a phone book and called every production company in the city, pitching my story.  I ended up with an offer of internship, and later worked on a documentary film with The National Film Board—a film about three life stories, one of which was mine.

If you have a dream, don’t let anything stop you.  Not the worst of doubts, the most troubling of naysayers, a lack of cash, a disability, or a broken spirit.  In a flash, things could change; plus, the closer you get to the dream, the more the doorways to success unlock.

Remember: an AU certificate and a self-taught skill are two keys.  So, go ahead: dream about all the doors you have yet to unlock.  And, at long last, claim your prize.

Your dreams are worth the struggle.


Open Learn: Free Learning from the Open University.  (2016).  Learning to learn: Planning for personal change.  U.K.: The Open University.  E-book.