The “New” American Dream

The other day I was talking to my friend on the phone, when we began discussing  school and future careers. As I assume the audience for this article is mainly SUU’s student body, I’m also going to assume that majors, careers and goals are not anything new.

The point of this article is not the conversation, but rather one thing my friend said to me.

“Well, I want to go into pre-med, but I just flunked an anatomy test, so whatever … I’ll just pick something easier,” he said.

This sentence surprised and shocked me; my response was to ask, “but why would you give up on your dream career because of one bad test?”

He responded, “I don’t want to fail.”

My friend’s response is becoming increasingly common and more normal: the new American dream. Once upon a time the people that built this country endured failure after failure, setback after setback, building the United States by never giving up on the dream.

Life is not a participation trophy. The inalienable rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We keep getting that mixed up. The operative word is “pursuit” not “the gift.”

Jill Stevens is a combat medic, a nurse, Miss Utah 2007 and an SUU Alumna 2001-07.  In her biography “It’s All Good” she wrote, “… Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else. It’s the the burning in your lungs, the ache in your legs, the voice in you that yells ‘can’t.’ But you don’t listen. You push harder and you hear the voice whisper, ‘can.’  That is when you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are.”

The world is never going to hand us our dreams. That’s not the point. We have to fight for what we want.

Wishing you all success in finishing the semester. If you have any thoughts on “The ‘New’ American Dream,” send in a letter to the Editor at

Story by
Savannah Palmer