Blog Post

The American Dream and College

Whenever I see images of the Statute of Liberty I can only imagine the excitement my Scot-Iris ancestors must have felt as immigrants when it first came into view as they were standing on the bow of the ship bringing them to the United States. Their lengthy and difficult journey was another step in the manifestation of a dream and entering America through Ellis Island in New York was the cornerstone to building a better life for themselves and their families.

I’m sure it stirred deep seated emotions of what it symbolized to them; sacrifice, hope, opportunity, and freedom to progress toward, and satisfy their hunger for The American Dream. They also understood our governing documents, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and Bill of Rights did not guarantee them success, only the opportunity and freedom to pursue it on their own provided they were willing to put in the time, hard work and persistence to reach that goal.

Upon seeing a chosen college for the first time we might also feel the same emotions those immigrants felt as that possibly represents our own Statute of Liberty, the entryway to a better life with a college education. In a way their experiences might align with ours when it comes to seeking opportunity for prosperity and success as we too must also put in hard work, make smart choices and have strength of purpose. However, just as it applied to them and all citizens, our governing documents made no mention either of a college education being guaranteed or an entitlement, nor did it say achieving The American Dream or a college education will be easy, stress free, or without cost; they must be earned.

So What Does It Take?

The pathway to The American Dream and its rewards begins with you being totally honest with yourself regarding strength of purpose, willingness to develop specific skill sets and engage in hard work, coupled with follow through and determination. Without this combination, attainment of The American Dream may be no more than an illusion.

Michael Phelps, 2016 Olympic multi-gold medalist was asked what had driven him over the years to work as hard as he has to achieve his success. The 31-year-old icon said, smiling “I hate to lose, number one. My biggest thing is, I started goal setting when I was nine years old, and I literally dreamt for the stars and dreamt for the biggest possible thing I could think of: I wanted to change the sport of swimming and I wanted to do something nobody had ever done before.”

Whether it is striving for success in the Olympics, a life changing college education or a bountiful career, the formula isn’t complicated, it just requires commitment.

My latest book, “How To Keep Student Loans From Threatening Your American Dream!” is available here.

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