Envisioning the American Dream

(Posted October 21, 2013)

What does the American dream mean to Juniata students today? Photography by Kelly Russo, '14.

America has been called the 'Land of Opportunity;' throughout our history, stories of hard work leading to success prevail as examples for other individuals who want to better their lives and create opportunities for themselves. This week, Juniata students give their opinions on the state of the American Dream and how this affects their lives.

Olivia Halfpenny '17, McVeytown, Pa.
"I think it does still exist. I think it is a lot harder to attain with the economy and the poverty that exists in American now; however, my American dream is graduating college, getting a good job, getting married, buying a house and just being successful."

Katy Leamer '17, Bellwood, Pa.
"I think it exists, but it is different from what it was. The American dream changes everyday. Today my American dream is being able to get a good job, having a house, and sending my kids to college where they can also be successful."

Sutton Moore '17, Anchorage, Alaska
"I think the American dream still exists, but I do not think it can be attained anymore, because of the bad economy and the national debt level. Back when the American dream was first created, things didn't cost as much as they do now and people could do more with their money. This makes life harder."

Samatha Dolan '17, Highland Park, N.J.
"I think it means something different to everyone. I think of the play 'Death of a Salesman' by Arthur Miller as the stereotypical version of the American dream."
Alexis Waksmunski '15, Northern Cambria, Pa.
"I think it is true that people have a lot more opportunities then they used to. We study more things than what was available to our ancestors. Today the American dream still exists because we can be whatever we want to be. Our ancestors would be very happy with where we are now.

Leah Peacock "17, Silver Spring, Md.
"I think that there are a lot more ways to be successful now. Today you can go to college, but you don't have to be successful. I think the 'white picket fence' dream has faded and we have moved into a dream with different aspects of success."

Nick Brandenburg '17, Hagerstown, Md.
"I think there is no single American dream. There is a reason why people want to come to America, but there is no ideal life. Everyone has their own dreams and there is no reason to call them American, because those dreams could be the same dreams other people have in other countries."

Stephanie Spaven '16 York, U.K. and Josh Etherton '15 Gloucester, U.K.
"There is a dream of traveling and seeing the world that opens door and inspires people to dust off the sleepy little town syndrome. In the '50s and '60s, you could succeed by working hard and your goals were easy to attain. People still succeed today, so a dream like this still exists. The land of opportunity didn't die; you just have to work harder to attain success then you had to in the past, which is not necessarily a bad thing."

-Marlene Matula '17, Juniata Online Journalist

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.