I reviewed several years’ worth of free write papers from first-year students at Sonoma State University. Since I am also a first year at Sonoma State, my supervisor asked me to take on this assignment. The students were asked “What is your ‘American Dream’? Can you achieve it in a world with no peace?”
My American Dream is to become a Radiation Therapist, but I must have peace within myself in order to accomplish that. Radiation therapy is a difficult job so I feel I need to be at peace with myself to keep my motivation for pursuing this career. My patients also must have peace within themselves in order to relax and avoid complications with their treatments. Also, I want to have a happy family that doesn’t have to deal with violence. I know peace will play a big role in my future so I took the assignment because I wanted to see what other people thought about peace.
This was a hard and confusing task since the students used different definitions of peace. Some students talk about peace within themselves, others talk about the absence of violence and war. Discussing peace can be confusing since we all see it differently.
It was quite interesting what some of these young adults felt about peace. Some believe their American Dream cannot be achieved in a world without peace. For example, Erin Hoxsie wrote in 2009, “I think any kind of war would severely damage my dream because I find it hard to be happy and at peace with myself when there is so much hurt and bad things in this world.” This caught my attention because I can relate to the desire for inner peace. In 2008, Stephanie Roza wrote, “Also, without peace comes violence and/or war, which is not an ideal environment for the stereotypical American Dream.” I agree that the American Dream shouldn’t harbor negativity and that it should make you happy. Most of these students agree that violence and war do affect their American Dream. I agree; if there is no peace, what could substitute to prevent violence or war from happening?
“Peace is not impossible but merely a dream that each individual should be willing to work for” stated Andrea Rios in 2007. I agree that peace isn’t impossible, but because of the tremendous amount of violence and negativity in the world, peace is hard to accomplish. Like Andrea says, if peace is really what you want, you won’t give up on it. How hard someone works for peace all depends on the person and on what their goals are.
In 2011, Joshua Harnden, shared “I think that peace plays a huge part in my Dream. I want to help those without peace and those that haven’t been paid attention to.” I’m glad to see there are people in this world who actually care about others. We all live in the same world so we might as well look out for each other. If we don’t take care of each other, who will? Joshua talks about how his American Dream is to bring peace to those who don’t have anything.
“But has there ever been peace?” asks Devon Tellkamp in 2009. My personal opinion is that peace should come from within so that it shines out for all to see. But now the big question is what do you think about peace? What does it truly mean to you?