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Exercise the American right, not the dream

By Kelli Ponce
On January 31, 2012

Throughout life, we're challenged and forced to make decisions that we might not be the most comfortable about. But it happens, and that's the point—to challenge ourselves through uncomfortable situations. Our decisions create the mold for how we choose to experience our lives. Do we take chances? Do we question our options? Ultimately, we are the only ones who can control our choices, but there are many people, possessions, and corporate powerhouses that have an impact. Then, we're faced with another question: What purpose do we serve?

Such a question cannot be answered immediately, and I'm not even sure I have an answer right now. But are we supposed to have that figured out? If you think about American culture and the "important" values instilled upon us, they've already figured it out for us. We graduate college, we find a decent career, we meet the man of our dreams, and we start a family. Once we've figured all of that out, we start buying. And we aren't buying necessities, we're buying things to make us happy—probably because we aren't actually happy living the American Dream. Our possessions serve the purpose of satisfying our needs, right? Once we have stuff, everything else will come our way. But, I'm convinced that people believe that's it. That is what our purpose is, and there is nothing more to life than living the dream. We're college students. What happened to having an opinion about our future? I think it's time we take a step back and start thinking for ourselves.

But, the way I see it is that as long as business is thriving, the well being of humanity is not questioned. Nobody questions if we really need certain items we buy because it's cool; it's a social stigma that we've all become accustomed to.

Recently, I had a revelation: I'm not entitled to anything. I've been fortunate to grow up with both of my parents around in a relatively functional household. The unfortunate part of this story is that I may have been spoiled at times. This means, my parents gave in to that consumerist bullshit I was spoon-fed as a preteen when I begged for material items to show how cool I was. Sorry, Mom. We learn from experience, right? What I'm trying to say is that marketers are seriously convincing in persuading us to appreciate and desire the "happy go spending world," and I can't really say that I'm alright with that. There's more to all these people we interact with than what brand they're wearing or when they're getting married.

Anyway, I'm planning on graduating in May and need to figure out what my purpose is so I don't have to move back home and live in what are now my parent's guest bedrooms. I question everything. Most recently, I wonder why so many of us feed off of this cookie cutter life style.

Shouldn't we want to live passionately and experience everything we can throughout life? I'm not an expert advice columnist, but I'm educated enough to know that if you're okay with filling your days with boredom and routine, without having a solid grasp on what you're passionate about, then we've got a problem. You should always ask why, don't settle for the status quo, that's your job as the next generation.

-Kelli Ponce, Editor In Chief

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