58 letters on the American Dream from San Marcos University students, San Diego, California, USA
letter 55: Kelli Dickinson

My American dream is not the cliché, old fashioned one most people think of. My dream isn’t a white picket fence and 2.5 children. I won’t be satisfied with the average, I want to go big! I want to have a nice house with 7 bedrooms all to myself. I want to roll down the street in an Aston Martin or Rolls Royce while the “normal people” gawk and stare. I want to be able to travel to far-off places on a whim. I want to go to work in a silvery skyscraper so large you can’t see the top and when I get there I want to sit at a desk the size of an elephant and bark orders. It’s true that money and power aren’t everything, but it is my dream to have a great amount of both. My dream is the American dream…on steroids. The stereotypical American dream is one of just making it; working hard to live comfortably. Well, I want to work hard to live extravagantly. And is that so bad? Why should I have to settle for just the average? Why do I have to be destined to be “middle class” for the rest of my life? I don’t want to follow in the footsteps of my parents. It is unbearable to think one day, I’ll be the one pulling my hair out while trying to find enough money to pay the bills. I don’t want to work overtime everyday and still not have enough to reach for my dreams. It would be hard for me to sit at the bottom and look up at all the rich people; I’ve done it for long enough already. American is the perfect place to think big. Everything in America is big and over-the-top; the business, the culture, and the opportunity. My dream is not to get everything handed to me on a silver platter. I would hate nothing more than to be thought of as spoiled. I want to work for everything I get. Having to work hard for it would allow me to claim it as my own; not a gift or handout. I want to be one of the best because I worked to be one of the best. And when I am the best, I want to be respected as the best. In this way, I don’t view my dream as greedy, but as determined. Greed is when you get what you have by taking it from others. Determination is when you have what you do by working hard for it. I think everyone should have a determined dream like mine, or at least be as determined to go for whatever dream they have. People shouldn’t just settle for average or what society dictates they should have. My meaning can be summed up in a common quote; “Reach for the stars, and even if you fail, you’ll land among the clouds.” For me, even the clouds aren’t good enough; my American dream is to capture the stars.