Today, my English class discussed the American Dream and whether or not it is attainable for everyone who wants to pursue it. It seemed evident that many of my peers have lost faith in the idea of working hard to get ahead. Some analysts could say the attitude found in the “Me” generation is one of entitlement and it is difficult to argue otherwise. My generation is distinguished by the rise of social networking websites, displays of narcissism, and an upbringing by parents who wanted a better life for us. There are few people in my generation who understand the sacrifices our parents have made to better our futures. In some cases, having things handed to us has only furthered the lack of work ethic and paved the way for many of my peers’ sense of entitlement.
One of my classmates voiced her opinion on how difficult it is for minorities to get a college education and be successful in their pursuit of the American Dream. I find it hard to believe getting a college education is difficult with federal aid and a multitude of resources to use – no matter someone’s ethnicity or circumstances. There is an African-American man ruling the free world and the argument of being hindered by race has become void of intelligent discussion. I do not have the luxury of receiving financial aid due to material goods my parents have inherited from their deceased relatives. My parents do not have a college education or a vast income, but I still cannot receive government aid. My parents and I are paying for the financial aid of every other college student, while people receiving aid whine about how difficult it is to receive a subsidized education. I find it difficult to empathize with these individuals.
My Grandmother sold quail in southern Missouri during the Great Depression in order to pay for a train ticket to Idaho. She used the rest of her savings to purchase a car in Idaho and settled in the Boise area. My Grandma and Grandpa met in the early 1950’s and, after marrying, opened a small grocery store together with what funds they had. Neither of my grandparents had a college education, but they were able to run a business and invest their excess funds wisely. My Grandpa started selling fireworks out of the grocery store and it was not long before he purchased land in order to build a fireworks warehouse. Northwestern Fireworks Company L.L.C. has been open for 39 years and is still owned by my family today. My Grandma continued to invest funds and build up many businesses until she passed away in February 2011. My grandparents lived the American Dream through their choices and their ability to overcome humble beginnings.
The American Dream is not a dream. Dreams are for people who do not see a path to achieving their goals. The American Dream is part of my everyday reality thanks to my family’s ability to illustrate the power of work ethic, determination, perseverance, and kindness. Adults in my generation may not hold the same view as me, but it is their choice to be a victim of circumstance. Victims of circumstance in adulthood are created by choices. If circumstances do not permit for advancement, then change them.
I did not know what to do when it came time for college, but I asked questions and people were willing to help guide me in the right direction. My parents were not always supportive of my moving away, but I did it anyway. The support of my parents almost always comes with time, although there is a certain disconnect when it comes to their understanding of what college demands. I love my parents and will be forever grateful for the opportunities they have provided to me.
Some of you may argue my upbringing has not featured much adversity and while it may be true, it has not taken away from my appreciation for those around me and all the help they have offered in all my endeavors. My friend’s father grew up in the projects in Brooklyn, NY and he is now a professor with a doctorate in technology. He faced adversity and overcame obstacles while maintaining a positive attitude. Anyone can live the American Dream to the fullest if they choose to make educated decisions and persevere.