Sunday, May 30, 2010

The American Dream

As I sit at my kitchen counter, home from school for Memorial Day Weekend, I'm watching the History Channel as I do my weekly online Philosophy 101 homework. America: The History of US has been on for the majority of the evening. I have always been terribly interested in history, especially American history, so naturally I'm glued to the TV.

As I have watched this show for the last couple of hours, one strong theme has seemed to emerge - The American Dream. Yes, I'm capitalizing it - I think it's a proper noun. Although many think The American Dream is having 2.5 children a home, a job, and a car - it isn't. I have watched the emergence of the Industrial Revolution - the cotton gin, the Eerie Canal, the trans-continental railroad, an interstate that spans the entire country and how life-changing these innovations were, and still are today.

People came to America searching for refuge and freedom often from the oppressive countries in which they lived. In America, they were able to become entrepreneurs of their own lives. Those who came here in those early days had a drive and a want for something more then they had previously been able to attain. There was a drive for accomplishment. Our nation is known for being ambitious and go-getting. If there is something an American wants to achieve, we find away to achieve it. We are the masters of our own destiny.

When you come to America, you are assured unalienable rights. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are the core values and beliefs that disenfranchised peoples came to America in hopes of establishing, and fought against those trying to take those rights away. Our struggles became a nation.
As I watch these people building our great country from nothing, it seems many of those in my generation have lost this sense of leadership, drive and want to build a better life. People have become more complacent, even laissez-faire in their lives. Why? Why sit back with the attitude that 'someone else will do it', 'someone else will take care of it'? We have been known for our drive for our entire history. It is what makes the U.S. US - where did the American drive go?

I was always raised to believe that I would do 'better' than my parents, as they had done better than their parents and so on, and so on. But it seems as though the attitude of a great number of my generation seems content with the idea of settling.

Doesn't anyone want to work anymore? It definietly doesn't seem like it.

I raise these questions without any real answers. I do however, propose a challenge for everyone. Step up. Follow your dreams. It's what millions of people have died for our country, for you to be able to do - so do it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Future

As the weather gets warmer, the days get longer, and summer gets closer and closer, we college students should be settling into rockstar internships and our biggest concern is when we can squeeze in some time to get a tan, right?


At least for me anyway.

For me the future is weighing heavily on my shoulders. Like a ton of bricks.
My situation is slightly different, you see I am graduating next year. A year earlier than I expected to when I came in as a freshman.

Why is that so scary you ask?

Well, I'm still sifting through my options for my post-grad career. Internship? Grad school? Job? Travel abroad? Sabbatical? (only joking.) It seems as though I have to have to make some major decisions this fall. Do I need to sign a lease for a fourth year? Do I really need to start saving money? Paying off my college loans?

Every time I weigh each of my options, I get thoroughly overwhelmed.
So then here are my options:

1. Grad School – So this option would mean staying at OU for a fourth year and getting my masters in that fourth year. An undergraduate and graduate degree in four years sounds pretty sweet, however, every single PR professional I have spoken with has said that a graduate degree isn’t really necessary unless at some point you want to teach. Also, I have been told it is more relevant if you have some real-world experience to bring to the table.

2. Post-grad Internship – I can and probably will apply for countless post-grad internships. I have been seriously considering this because that way I will gain more PR experience without having to join the real working world just yet. I feel like it will give me some time to get more experience before I go for a real job.

3. Travel abroad – Something I have always wanted to do. I would love to go to Europe and travel for a month, but with what money would I do this? I absolutely cannot incur more debt then I will already have from college.

4. Real job – This is terrifying to me. I wonder every day if I’m ready for such a big step. Am I ready to go into the real world, start paying for everything on my own, and pay back my loans? Do I have enough experience? Am I really graduating from college at age 20?

I have been told that once I join the working world, I'll do it forever, so I really need to consider everything I want to do in life before I take any steps.

It’s comforting to know that I have options, but at the same time its scary. I have to make decisions relatively soon, and I’m still not sure what I want to do, and I’m not even really leaning in any one direction.
I will definitely be posting more on this, as it is a topic that weighs very heavily on my mind.