A difference in the American dream

Do not follow others expectations

Times Staff, Times Staff

In ancient Greek mythology, the forces of nature are explained as gods. The titan Atlas stood in the mountains of Northern Africa and held the sky up on his shoulders. Modern society, and the book ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ have turned this image into Atlas holding the world on his shoulders.

The feeling can be common among young people. Holding the world on our shoulders. What could be so heavy to our generation?

The weight of expectations. The Bay Area is full of immigrants. Everyone, immigrant or not, is looking for the American dream: the wealth and happiness of hard work and reward. To move up in socioeconomic status is the ultimate goal.

Some people live life poor, others rich. In modern America, there is one concept that is drilled into our brains all throughout our school careers: The key to success is higher education. College degrees are how you get anything done. This nugget of cultural thought, as well as the hope for kids to do better than their parents, is where this weight of expectations come from.

We are pressured to go to universities to become doctors or lawyers. Go to a four year, blaze your way through and rack up tons of debit. You will be fine. Work hard, get rich, and happiness will come to you. I mean, how can you be unhappy when you are rich?

This whole shebang is not exactly useless, but for some, it is not the right path. Someone I know absolutely hates school. He only attended because he was forced to. He went to college for two semesters because his parents would make him pay rent otherwise. He dropped out, took a job as a host at a decent restaurant (sit down and button up shirts), and is looking to just work his way up the ladder. A college education might raise his potential skill cap, but the practical experience in the field will let him advance faster.  He was pressured into going to school and was miserable; he stopped, and is now happier.

Pressure and expectations can be useful for pushing someone into gear, but too much is paralyzing. It is my opinion is to screw other people. Though noble in thought, you should do you. If you don’t want to go to college, don’t. If your parents expect you to be in STEM, but you are a theater major at heart, do it; even if your dreams are stupid, follow them. Money is nice, but happiness is nicer.