Breaking Free From the Mold
In medieval England, people were divided not by race or sex, but rather class. From the noble men and women at the top to the peasants at the bottom, each was bound to the class in which they were born into. To change your fate was something unheard of in those times. The founding fathers of the United States of America saw a vision of a nation where all men are created equal. This vision saw a constant interchanging class system. Today, the US sticks by this ability to break free from the mold and to become something greater than you were.
In Gilber and Kohl’s writings on social classes, they state that definite groups or classes are determined according to their financial and everyday lifestyles(434-438). Yes, I definitely agree with the fact that social classes are prevalent in our nation, and I also see the truth in their points on how to move from class to class. Their main point, and mine/ comes from the fact that education leads to great things. There are absolute specific factors that aid in moving up the hierarchy ladder in the US, and the main ones are education, and pursuing every chance to better your knowledge of the world.
I personally cannot truthfully put my upbringing into a specific class. I was by no means a part of the capitalist class which Gilber and Kohl see as the highest social class in wealth(434). I was no where near the bottom either. I had possessions that not everyone could afford to have, but I also could not afford many of the things others possessed. My family worked for every dime we had and put it all to good use. There was always food on the table and a solid roof over my head. However, I often remember times when the water or phones would be cut off because the bills were not being paid on time. Gilber and Kohl see the class system as one with more than one middle class. It separates into upper-middle, middle, and lower-middle. As I see it I had a little bit of all the middle classes in my life.
“We estimate that only about fourteen percent of the total work force has the combination of university degrees, authority on the job, and high income to qualify for the upper-middle class”(Gilber and Kohl 436). This statement proves my point of the advantages of a higher education as it directly links a high level of education to the ability to attain high enough income and prestige to become a part of the upper classes. It is a proven fact that the comparison between yearly wages of a degree holding worker are significantly higher than that of one that has no more than a high school education. Knowing this, I ask, why would anyone settle for less than a post high school education? The American dream is knowing that no matter who you are you can have the chance to make something great with your life. Opportunity is another huge part of that dream, and opportunity is everywhere just waiting to be snatched up “by the ears” and put into action. Scholarships, loans, grants, and more and more chances for a higher education show themselves everyday. The catch is that they will not find you. You, the young people in this nation who will soon begin to choose your future, must go out and look for the opportunities and take advantage of every one you can. With effort comes rewards, and rewards are what every one desires.
Growing up I dreamed, just as everyone does, that I would become a part of that elite top class. Throughout my adolescence I have been striving to make that dream come true. I am in college now studying political science in hopes of getting the chance to attend a very high level law school. It is something that I am putting my whole heart into and because of the huge amount of effort I put into it, I know that it will happen. In Charles Murray’s “Separation of the Classes”, he writes that in 1988, the difference in wages of a high school graduate and a college graduate was about sixty percent more for the college graduate. Now that margin has literally doubled (443). When I read this sort of information it inspires me to do more and more with my education. How can anyone make the logical choice to not pursue a higher level of education when these sort of statements are facts? All those who have dreams of being someone extraordinary should take this to heart because it shows the path to take. The only thing left to do is for you to take it.
I will admit that in some strange cases there are times when moving up in class is a little bit easier for some. For example, famous athletes, musicians, singers, artists, and actors make so much money that it shoots them up the hierarchy ladder in very little time. However, on the realistic view of it all, the chances of that happening to someone is very slim. The only way to make sure a person is given the chance to become a part of the upper classes is to find the one way that is not so uncommon. That way is to receive the highest level of education possible. When it comes to education, the more the better. The higher and higher levels a person reaches just furthers their chances to reach their dreams. Myron Magnet makes a direct distinction of how the crime population in the US is directly linked to that of underprivileged youth. This may be somewhat true, but what about the ones who come out of the same ghetto surroundings to become millionaires? They are the true meaning of the American dream. They had a goal, went for it, and with every one of these situations is the appearance of a college education. For someone to say that they do not have the chance to attain a higher level of education is preposterous. Everyone can, and everyone should.
With every new technology we stumble upon comes new chances for people to become experts with that new information. As long as there is still a need for more information the rich will become richer and the numbers of the upper classes will increase. As long as there is still a yearning for knowledge, there is still a chance to become great. When an individual works for what he or she gets and gets what he or she works for there is a happy person, and if that is what a person’s dreams may be, then by all means there is no one that can stop you. Reach for the stars and grab the moon while you are at it, because when you put your heart and mind into achieving your goals, that is exactly what happens.