Roosevelt University's Student Life Blog

Humans of Roosevelt: The American Dream

In light of Roosevelt’s fourth annual American Dream Reconsidered Conference, we reached out to students and asked what the American Dream means to them. Here are their responses:

Name: Jordan Fierst

Year: Senior

Major: Sustainability Studies and Political Science

What does the American Dream mean to you?: The American Dream is an elusive, dynamic concept. To me, however, the American Dream is about providing opportunity. It is giving a chance to anyone who wants it. It is supplying people with an avenue and starting them off with the means to achieve their wildest dreams. It is being better than your parents because they spent their lives working hard for you to do more than they ever could. Though elusive and dynamic, one idea remains certain about the American Dream overtime–it should be available and offered to everyone and anyone who wants it. And that, I believe, is something we need to work towards as a nation–providing this opportunity to all.


Name: Tony Graham

Year: Junior

Major: Undeclared

The American Dream…A few things come to mind when I hear that phrase. Success, Money and Power. It’s no wonder America attracts so many people with a label so enticing. However, in my eyes, the American Dream isn’t so materialistic. What the American Dream means to me is freedom. Freedom to be yourself. Freedom to experience the world how you want to experience it. Freedom to speak up for what you believe in. They say the American Dream is something that is equally attainable by all, but that statement is misleading. Not everyone is born with the same opportunities to achieve the level of success, money and power that people seek out of the American Dream. The truth is many people are born with a head start. However, in America, we are all born with the power to be ourselves, experience the world, and speak our minds.


Name: Bella Filippi

Year: Graduate

Major: MS in Integrated Marketing Communications

When I was a kid, my grandmother, who is now eighty-five years old, used to say that the American Dream was to have one million dollars and a big house so you can live happily ever after.

Today, at 36 years old, that’s not the picture that I have in mind. I always say that money should not be a priority. Money always comes, but how we live our life, that should be our main focus. Don’t get me wrong, money makes our lives easier, but it should be seen as a complement, not a necessity. As long as we have health, a roof over our heads for a good night’s sleep, food in our fridges, and a family that loves us, we know that we are going to be okay.

As a foreigner living in the US for the past seven years, my dream is simple. I just want to have a chance. A chance to show you, my dear American people, that we are as good as you are, a chance to show you that we make America great.

I came to this country on a United Airlines flight on September 19th, 2012 with only a plan A on my mind. I can tell you that after all these years, I have reinvented my plans and I don’t even know which letter I am on today. I have been hopeful and grateful for the opportunities that I have experienced. I have learned that hard work comes dressed in overalls if you don’t stay focused. America is pretty good at distracting you from your goals with all the access to instant gratification, but what really matters is how committed we are with ourselves and our dreams. Ask yourself every morning after getting up from your comfortable bed, “do you want to make it or not?”, and you will know if you are on the right track.

The American Dream for 2019 has mutated, the upgraded version of my grandma’s ideal is now to feel welcome in this country, to stop feeling afraid of speaking our native languages, and to not be called “a person of color” just because we are not from here.

I grew up in a country where we were taught to respect each others and if we bully someone else, we should be ready to face the fury of our mother and her well known “chola”.

Former President Barack Obama said during an interview back in 2016, “I think that change happens, typically not because somebody on high decides that it’s going to happen, but rather because at a grassroots level enough people come together that they force the system to change.” Now think about this for a minute, if we don’t work for the America we expect, what’s the point of doing what we think is right today?



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Sandy • September 13, 2019

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