58 letters on the American Dream from San Marcos University students, San Diego, California, USA
letter 53: Jordan Verdin

To me the American dream is something greater than owning a home or having a nice car; it’s more than being able to spend your money on whatever you want. The American dream to me is making a better future for yourself. It’s like going from a nothing to a something to make name and educate yourself. It is the ability to work hard and persevere to achieve what you want in life;you can become anything you want. The great thing about this country is that anyone from any country and any ethnicity can come to this great land and better himself/herself in all aspects of his/her lives.

My grandmother on my father’s side came to this country at the age of sixteen to better herself. She sacrificed a lot of things to come to the United States. She later married my grandfather and they had my dad. They were very poor and they did the best that they could in order to live there lives. They were able to buy a home in a suburb area. Because they lived in the poorer areas, my father joined a gang and at a very young age began to use drugs and other substances. He was evolved with these things until he had an encounter with God in his life. He was able to break his addictions and meet my mother and they got married. He became an assistant pastor at a church. My parents later had my sister and then me. We were very poor even though I never knew it until I was older. My aunt had died so her two children lived with us. We all lived in a one bedroom one bath house. I slept on a sofa. I never had my own bed till I was about nine. During this time my grandmother and my grandfather both tragically died. Through their death we had received some insurance money and we were able to buy our first home. My father was able to go back to school and he received his master’s degree in theology. We were later able to sell our house when the market was good and we were able to more than triple our investment and we bought a bigger house. My parents were able to put my sister through Point Loma Nazarene University, and she graduated last summer with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism; now my parents are putting me through school.

To me this is the American dream not the houses that we have or the nice cars or our money in the bank. But the education we are able to receive the chance we have to decide our future. In this case my grandmother had to give her life in order for my family to have a chance to live the American dream and for that reason I will try my hardest in order to better myself. I will forever be thankful for the steps my family took in order for me to be where I am today. This is my time to try and live the great American dream.