Every once in a while, often when I’m in the middle of studying for a particularly difficult test or feel as if I’m in a daily routine rut, I begin to panic & think I’ll never pass any of my classes. I then sit back & ask myself Emily, why are you doing this?
See, I’m a sophomore college student who is double majoring (cause I hate myself, apparently) in marketing & English. Marketing ’cause I have a knack for business stuff & English because I love to read & write. So sometimes, when I get stressed out, I like to imagine what my life will look like in 10 years. My fantasies always go something like this:
- Finished with grad school (I wanna get my MBA)
- All student loan debt paid off
- Married to my best friend
- Living in the house we designed and built together (he’s an engineer)
- Hopefully a few littles running around
- A dog or two
- and happy
The American Dream. See, people like to think that if they work hard enough they can achieve the upper-middle-class idealized life. This “work hard and you’ll be rewarded” mentality has been something I learned from a young age. I grew up in house that didn’t have a lot of money. My mother liked to say we were in “reduced circumstances.” I learned early on that if I was going to attend college it would have to be something I took the initiative with.
So I worked hard in high school, took a year off and worked at Disney (coolest job ever!), and finally got myself a scholarship to a little liberal arts college. & working hard got me there.
Not mommy and daddy’s money. Not being handed anything. But simply hard work.
I think that’s something people have forgotten. So often people my age will say things about wanting to be handed success or waking up & their life is magically fixed.
This mentality, one that thinks being handed something would be beneficial, is deplorable. People need to realize that success comes from hard work, not because you “deserve it.” Money without character is like giving a child a million dollars. They’ll only spend it on useless items that do NOT matter.
Often times, working hard doesn’t pay off. You will struggle. Lose your money. Lose your loved ones. One setback after another. But you can’t let success define you. Success isn’t a doctorate degree, a million dollar mansion, driving a nice car, and vacationing with the Kardashians. Sometimes, success is making an A on a test. Or going to the gym for a week. Or having a deep conversation with a friend who really needed it.
So yes, I do want the American Dream. But I don’t let it define me. And neither should you. My list of things I want in 10 years is mostly about the people I want to be around. ‘Cause in the end, happiness isn’t measured in the house you live in. Or the clothes you wear. It’s measured in the character you posses, the people you surround yourself with, & how you treat others.