Amanda Jacobs: Shoot for the stars -- who knows where you'll wind up

Amanda Jacobs

How many kids have dreamed about being an astronaut? Plenty. But how many of those kids have actually taken action to make that dream come true? Not so many.

One of those kids grew up to be Scott Altman, who blasted off last week on NASA’s final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Commander Altman is a major source of pride for his hometown of Pekin, Ill., and rightfully so. He has achieved what few others have and has proven that it is possible to turn a dream into reality.

Perhaps you’ve never dreamed about going into space. Maybe, like me, you’ve dreamed about becoming a star and performing before cheering crowds.

So did Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, and tonight they’ll have shot to make that dream come true as they compete in the final round of “American Idol.”

It doesn’t really matter who wins. Lambert has hit the stage with outstanding performances every week, and Allen has proven himself to be an exciting new artist. Only one of them can be the American Idol, but they’re both already stars.

However, neither one would be where he is today if he hadn’t lined up with thousands of hopefuls at the show’s first cattle call auditions. Allen and Lambert had the guts to take the first step in the direction of their dreams, and they’ve seen those dreams come true.

Of course, for every Adam and Kris, there are thousands of rejects who didn’t even make it as far as Simon Cowell. Like me, for example.

When I found out that “Idol” would be conducting auditions in San Francisco, where I just happened to be working for the summer, I decided to give it a shot.

But, alas — after getting up at 3 a.m., waiting in line in the cold and rain for hours, and taking part in group sing-a-longs of “We Built This City” and “Get Ready” — I failed to impress the producers and was hustled out the loser door as soon a security guard had cut off my “Idol” wristband. I didn’t appear on TV, I didn’t sing for the judges, and — worst of all — I didn’t see Ryan Seacrest.

I’m still glad I tried out. If I hadn’t, I’d still be in the same place that I am today, but I’d always wonder how my audition would have turned out. Sure, I failed, but I gave my dreams a shot, which is more than many other people can say.

Of course, being a singer and/or actress was not my only dream. I also dreamed of becoming a journalist, and that turned out pretty well.

I think it took even more guts for me to pursue this career than it did for me get in line with the other “American Idol” hopefuls. I threw myself into this industry despite the people around me who proclaimed that newspapers were dying and that I could not succeed.

And here I am. I may not be an astronaut or an Idol, but I have fulfilled my dream of becoming a journalist.

Now, my dream is that newspapers will continue to thrive well into the future, and I hope the rest of the industry will join me in working in that direction.

After all, dreams can become reality, but only if you go after them. Maybe you’ll fail, but at least you’ll be able to say that you tried.

Or maybe — like Scott Altman and Adam Lambert and Kris Allen — you’ll end up exactly where you dreamed you’d be.

Contact Amanda Jacobs at 346-1111 ext. 663 or ajacobs@pekintimes.com.