The American Dream?

I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream.
Bruce Springsteen 

I’ve been thinking a lot about “the American Dream” lately.  I’ve talked about it in a couple of my classes and I’m curious as to what people think of “The American Dream.”  I asked my dad what he believed “the American Dream” was today and he simply said, “I don’t know anymore.” That’s just sad to me.  My dad is a baby boomer, he has worked as a Denver Police officer for over 30 years, he has provided for three daughters and is helping to provide for his three grandsons, he is the epitome of working hard and what does he get for that? I’m sure he won’t get any Social Security money. He is retiring later than he thought. And he couldn’t afford to send any of his daughters to college. So I wonder, is “the American Dream” a myth?

Obviously the dream has morphed over time.  My mom said that the American Dream was having the opportunity to be successful, when I asked her what success was, she said providing for your family.  So has she achieved the American Dream? Is struggling to make ends meet and working jobs that you hate just so you can provide for your family really the American dream? 

I think about what my version of the American Dream is, and I think it is your, individual happy ending.  Whatever seems like “happily ever after” to you, is your American Dream. That would mean that my American Dream is being able to have a happy, whole, family and practice law.  And then I think about the hard work aspect.  I am a firm believer in hard work and I think it should be celebrated. But then I think about the work I’m doing and whether or not it will help me and I feel doubtful. 

I’ve said this before, everything I have done to this point since sophomore year has been in pursuit of one thing.  Every decision I’ve made, has all been to help me along the path to Law School. But then, life gets in the way.  My plan was to not work this semester so that I could volunteer and spend my extra time studying for the LSAT. Well, money is tight in my family and a job is a necessity for me. So I have two. A manager position and another internship position with my school’s legal services.  Because of this, I do not have much free time.  I still do my best to get my school work done but it seems like a never-ending task. So inevitably, my GPA is not going to be great this semester. My GPA wasn’t great two semesters ago, so I worked my butt off last semester to change it, and even getting better grades overall, it dropped by .006 points. 

I work harder than a lot of the students I know and my chances of getting into law school are probably not that great. So what is that? How is that fair? How fair is it that a number on a transcript has so much weight to your future? If I don’t get into law school, I truly believe it will be an injustice.  I am so passionate about the law and the Constitution that I need to be a lawyer.  It is my job.  But already, I am questioning whether or not my American Dream will be a reality. 

My generation is so cynical.  But that’s what we’ve learned.  That’s how we keep ourselves grounded.  We can’t all get into Law School.  One person’s acceptance is another’s one’s denial. And there’s no changing that. No matter how hard we work, I still don’t believe it will be good enough. There is always someone better. 

Maybe that’s why it’s called “the American Dream.” Because it truly is a dream, that not everyone will have.  Some may have to live through an American nightmare. 

So I ask you, what are your thoughts on the American Dream?

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One thought on “The American Dream?

  1. Pingback: Two years already?? | Confessions of a Pre-Law Student

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