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Ten years ago, I graduated high school. While I may not have a reunion to attend, I can spend a weekend basking in world of young adults. The movies She’s the Man and Hairspray as well as Sarah Dessen’s book The Truth About Forever came out during my high school years. The characters in these stories grapple with the cost of pursuing their dreams and the tensions that arise within themselves and from those around them as they take aim. Spend the weekend in the high school realm with Amanda Bynes on your screen and young ladies of various backgrounds reminding you to hold onto your dreams.

In She’s the Man Amanda Bynes’ character Viola follows the plotline of the Shakespeare comedy Twelfth Night as she poses as her brother so she can play soccer. Laughs follow as she attempts the mannerisms of an adolescent boy and hones in skills. Though her mother wishes Viola to shine as a debutant, Viola proves she can wear a dress as well as a soccer jersey.

Hairspray, which stars Amanda Bynes in the best friend role, demonstrates not only the tensions that arise from pursuing a dream but also racial tensions as Tracy Turnblad auditions for a dance show and supports integration. Singing and dancing abound as people start to notice the talent surrounding them. In the face of rejection for her weight and her views, Tracy holds onto her desire to dance and to develop her friendships.

Sarah Dessen’s novel The Truth about Forever deals with loss and the discovery of new and old dreams as Macy recovers from her father’s death. She and her mother don’t discuss their situation, and at a new summer job Macy makes new friends who help her sort through her pain. Though her mom resists the friends at first, Macy evaluates her life and how she wants to progress. Rather than box herself in with rules, she starts to consider goals again as she opens up with herself, her mom and her friends.

As young adults, high schools start to really take hold of their dreams. Even as an adult ten years out of high school, I struggle to keep those dreams close and pursue them despite tension that may arise within myself or from those around me. As these characters show, our goals have a purpose that can benefit not only ourselves but those around us. We can join forces with friends and family to progress them and see positive results.

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