by Brianna Lindhal 

The American dream affects many American’s goals and aspirations. According the Dictionary.com, the American dream is, “A life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.” For a long time, the American dream has been owning a home with a white picket fence, two cars and having a happy marriage with two kids.

‘Graduating from college is just another step toward the American dream.’ -Heidi Anderson

Over the years, the picture of the American dream has shifted, looking slightly different. Alison Schneider, senior English writing major said, “The concept that if you work hard, you can achieve your goals, but I think it’s become kind of an idealized concept. And a lot of college students don’t necessarily know what they want anymore, there’s been such a shift from materialism to a minimalistic mindset, and it will really impact how this generation perceives themselves in the American dream.”

Instead of accumulating a lot of stuff and finding accomplishment through bountiful material possessions, American culture is embracing a minimalistic mindset. One core element of the American dream still stands strong – attending a university. Getting a four-year degree.

Heidi Anderson, junior media production and intercultural studies major, said, “I think being in college is helping to achieve the American dream because you have to put effort in keeping your grades, and learning new skills.

“Some people can achieve the American dream without attending college,” said Anderson. “But college will definitely help you to learn all sorts of skills that you won’t be able to learn if you didn’t attend college.”

Schneider explained that as a Christian, her views and goals are different that mainstream culture’s view of the American dream. “I don’t think that anyone would deny that college is a really great achievement and step in forming who I am and my character,” Schneider said. “I don’t think that college is the endpoint, I think that it is a stepping stone to learning how I want to help other people, and since that’s my goal, that’s my dream.”

“Graduating from college is just another step toward the American dream,” said Anderson. “I may not be able to achieve the American dream right away after graduating, but I think it’s important to finish my degree in order to step into the world with official proof of my having an ability to contribute to the world.”

“And if the American dream is to accomplish your goals, then yeah,” said Schneider. “But if it’s materialistic then I probably will never achieve that idea of the American dream, and I don’t feel the need to.”

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