Reconsidering the American Dream

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks with Judge Ann Claire Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit during Roosevelt University’s 2017 American Dream Reconsidered conference, 

On this most auspicious day, we not only remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but we also begin the American Dream Reconsidered Conference here at Roosevelt University. There are many sessions focusing on this topic and social justice. Click here for more information; in addition, many sessions will be simulcast online.

Our country—along with the rest of the world–has changed dramatically since its inception. We are much more diverse. We have different expectations for our lives. The role of Education itself has changed. In fact: “In 1940, more than half of the U.S. population had completed no more than an eighth-grade education.”

We are curious about your perceptions and experiences of the American Dream. With that said, please respond to the following questions.

  1. What does the American Dream mean to you?
  2. How does your earning a graduate degree play support your attainment of your personal American Dream?
  3. If you attended the conference, please share what you learned.


National Center for Education Statistics. 120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait.  Retrieved September 11, 2017.



  • The American Dream means having a good Job with well enough benefits that could also help support me and my family.
    and also that would possible help lead me onto my career for my family, such as owning me a nice home that I can afford and a car that is reasonable and being able to travel when I want with my family. The American Dream in all mean just for me to be able to enjoy life itself and others, without worrying about the next day to live or pay my bills but being able to be comfortable to life. Earning a graduate degree plays a big role of support attainment for my personal dream. Because it has support me and guide me into many directions and being in the professional world it gives me more advantage to more options in life than others who may not have decide to earn or receive a degree.

  • What does the American Dream mean to you?

    It means that I’m living a comfortable life with my family. I am able to buy a home, car, and take vacations with a good job. Reality, no one really knows what that means. Everyone struggles day to day to make ends meet. We go to school to get degrees to make a better living for ourselves and family. The American Dream to me is to be able to survive.

    How does your earning a graduate degree play support your attainment of your personal American Dream?

    It just give me a little edge over the competition.

    If you attended the conference, please share what you learned.

    I didn’t attend

  • The American Dream is the notion that if you work hard, anything is possible. For some, working hard is enough. For others, even with hard work and determination, dreams are more difficult to reach. Our country is built on privilege. While it shifts from time to time, getting what you want or what you think you deserve is often predetermined.

    During Ruth’s talk, she explained that barriers can be turned into opportunities. Her dream was to work in Law. Had she been able to take a practical path to being a partner in a law firm, she may have done that and retired early. Because of the road blocks, the way she had to break down barriers, she was able to persevere and become the second female Supreme Court Justice. She is a role model to us all.

    I’m the youngest of five and was the first person in my family to graduate college. This December, I hope to be the first to earn a graduate degree. That is my American Dream realized. I knew I didn’t want to stay home and have kids. I wanted to travel, learn, and experience the world – then decide when, and if, I wanted to parent.

    Listening to Ruth share her experience as women fighting for progress for all was truly inspiring. As my time as a student comes to an end at Roosevelt, I will look back at that night as a highlight of my life. She made me grateful for the opportunities I have, and want to continue fighting to make sure more and more people have access to the opportunities that will help ensure they too get to see their American Dream realized – for good, for all.

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