Monday, March 2, 2009

Journal #1

Scratch Beginnings: Feb. 24, 2009

Before we started reading, we knew that the book was about a college graduate that wanted to see if he could pursue the “American Dream” by starting with next to nothing. We didn’t really know anything about Adam Shepard, but as soon as we read the back cover, we felt a relationship through age. We thought that potentially we could be in the same situation, although probably not as extreme if we chose not to attend college. We would have to find a job without the skills acquired in college.
Today’s society tends to have stereotypes about the homeless but it is not possible to generalize. Some people don’t help themselves; some other cannot find enough strength to get out of this spiral. There is a relevant paradox that we’ve all witnessed; indeed, people complain about homeless people, but don’t necessary work or volunteer to help fighting this social issue. Even though it is easier now to find a minimum wage job in some fast food for example, there are also some people who are just too proud to work for minimum wage.
It would be interesting to see if in the USA you are trapped within a social class and can’t move out of it easily. I think it is going to be very exciting to see if Shepard can overcome the challenge of starting out with nothing. We think that it will be interesting if someone from the lowest social class could work their way up through American society.
Is the “American Dream” is still a reality or an uncatchable ideal? Is going to College the only solution to get a chance to reach this ideal of life? We all have heard from friends, teachers and family that the way to succeed is to go to college. I think it would be interesting to see how far someone could get without a college education. There are some extraordinary examples of high school or college dropouts such as Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple) along with countless musicians and professional athletes. These people obviously have very special talents that lead them to success but I would like to know how far an “average Joe” could get.

We all chose the book “Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream” because we thought that it would be interested. The back made it sound like it was a fun book and relevant to us now. We felt like it would be interesting to see what his out come would be whether he achieved his goal of $2500, a car, and an apartment within a year, starting with only the clothes on his back and $25. We also wanted to know what he was going to do to achieve his goals and if it would be an actually thing not like he was able to go home and get a fresh change of clothes or money for food.

It is significant because we are wondering what it would be like if we finished college and can’t get a job in the bad economy. This topic is significant because of the failing US economy. Many people are losing their jobs and homes. There will be more people out of work and possibly more people left with nothing but $25 and the clothes on their back. It is a way that can help show us that if that happens to us, we can still get out of that situation and back to a better one.
This topic is relevant to me in the sense that just as Shepard, I started “all over again”. Of course, it is not in the same context and definitely as extreme, but after I messed up my freshman year in College in France, I took a year off school to think about what I wanted my life to be about, what truly matters. Here I am now, 20 years old, starting a brand new degree in another field of study, in another country – It is a big challenge to me, and Shepard’s story could be inspiring for that matter.

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