Astronaut proof goals and dreams can become reality
Perhaps you’ve experienced the disappointment of not getting a job you really wanted. Or maybe it was some other disappointment where you really expected something to happen—then it didn’t.
Remember that feeling? Imagine feeling those emotions not once but 14 times. It would have been pretty easy to just give up.
Nebraska native Clayton Anderson set his mind at the age of 9 that someday he was going to become an astronaut. After graduating from Hastings College, he pursued his master’s degree in aerospace engineering at Iowa State.
From there, he got a job at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, hoping that one day it would lead to his selection to the astronaut training program.
For 14 straight years, he applied to the program. And for 14 straight years, he got the rejection letter that he hadn’t been accepted—again.
But he didn’t give up! That’s the message that Anderson brought to the campers, parents and community last week during science camp.
Dreams can become reality but it takes perseverance. On his 15th try, Anderson was finally going to become an astronaut.
It launched a 15-year career that included two flights into space—one in 2007, where he stayed behind on the International Space Station for 152 days; another in 2010 on the space shuttle’s last ever night launch, spending another 15 days at the ISS.
During his time at the ISS, he completed six space walks, each time proudly displaying the red Nebraska “N” on his space suit.
Anderson told the crowd that achieving one’s dream can happen, but often it takes the perseverance to keep on trying.
He added one does not have to be a genius, like Albert Einstein, to achieve their dreams. He noted he was a good student but recalled his first semester at Iowa State when he ran into an arrogant young professor in advanced calculus. He got a D.
The next semester he took it under a different professor and reworked all the problems, just like he had done the first time. This time he got the A he wanted.
Anderson stressed another important element in achieving your dream. “Be proud of who you are,” he said. He said there’s no one prouder than him to be a Nebraskan.
Congratulations to the organizers and volunteers of S.C.O.R.E. You may have just facilitated the opportunity for one of your campers to become the next Clayton Anderson.