Living the American Dream

Living the American dream isn’t always what the individual expects it to be, it is not so-American after all. 

The United States is a landmass with an assorted existing population today; this nation is known as a mixture of various societies, every one remarkable in its own particular regard.

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Dr. Matthew Hand tells us how international students come to the US thinking of living the so-called American dream; where they only imagine how the places and people are going to be something that reflects off of a movie.

“There’s this idea that things are going to be beautiful,” He said. “This could look like it does in the movies and what their parents told them about what it is like to be in the United States.”

Most international students travel to the US seeking for a better education, because the education system back home isn’t sufficient enough; the atmosphere in the US is generally very independent, the opportunity of being here is a privilege says sophomore accounting major Shu Chen.

“I was very excited to come to the States, because it is like living the American dream.” Chen said.

Junior computer science major Prajwal Gautam, also expands his thoughts about what living the American dream meant to him when he moved to the States.

“It was an opportunity for me as well as a challenge,” he said. “Since my childhood it has  always been a dream for me to travel abroad.”

Opportunities come and go, but some opportunities are meant to be; when you come across them you have the tendency to move forward and build your path from there.

Second year political science and criminal justice major Nasar Sailab scoped his idea of being here in the States and was a good chance that he took.

“I have been to most parts of the world,” he said. “US, in a map is a very big name, I guess for me to be here, it was pure luck.”

No matter how much international students say that being in the States is exciting, there is always that voice in the back of their head which makes them miss home.

Sure it is freedom, it is being independent, but there is always that strike of lightning like moment snaps them back to reality said, Dr. Hand.

“When the international students get here, the anxiety really hits them,” he said. “Because now, they are away from home, they have different customs which they aren’t used to.”

There is always the communication barrier, words might not come through to some people says Shu Chen.

“I was afraid to talk to people,” Chen said. “My English was awful.”

Culture shock in general isn’t a negative factor, it just takes the individual time to adjust; the most common comment that is heard is “missing moms cooking,” professor of theatre and dean of freshman success, professor Joe Brown said.

“American students mostly complain about cafeteria food,” he said. “These international students normally miss the food they can’t get here, especially if they are living on campus.”

Freshman mass communication major Huynh Mai Han said, being here wasn’t much of a shock to her but the food and their portions were a struggle.

“I think for me, I didn’t have much shock,” she said. “But the food, the portions were huge and the taste was different.”

Junior business management major Karl Willis also explains what he misses the most.

“Back home I used to drink 7 cups of tea a day,” He said. “Here, I’m barely getting one.”

Staying away from family isn’t a easy thing, some students don’t go back home until they are done with 4 years of college, some just don’t go home at all.

Missing family and hanging out with siblings is always going to be a common regard that an international student would hold said Nasar Sailab.

“I miss my family, fighting with my siblings, but in general and most important of all, I miss acceptance,” he said. “Something about home is different, you feel safe and accepted.”

Many individuals befuddle the term culture shock with the phase of feeling discomfort, confusion, dissatisfaction and pining to go home before acclimating to an outside culture. However, culture shock is so much more.

When they get here it is the honeymoon phase, everything is wonderful and exciting; there is a lot of freedom that they experience and make the most of it, however, suddenly things might not go so well said Professor Joe Brown.

“They get a lot of freedom here,” he said. “suddenly when that gets too comfortable they fall into a slump and start coming out of it again, and it goes back and forth.”

Dr. Hand explains that for most students the feeling of coming in to a whole new place is that the mindset is generally about taking on new adventures, getting to know the customs of the new place and getting to know the people.

“I think the intent most the time, when coming here is to learn the customs and make friends,” he said. “But that intensity and anxiety is so significant, that they retreat back into customs that they are familiar with.”

Lizeth Menchaca

Lizeth Menchchaca is a first generation Hispanic college student all set to wrap up her senior year with an unabiding passion for her major.

“I’m living the American dream,” she said. “That is, going through the right path in wanting to attend college and earn a degree.”

Menchaca, a senior bilingual education major, believes that college is one of the important aspects in life. With the help of her parents, Menchchaca has been able to attend Texas Wesleyan.

She strongly admits that a parent’s advice is valuable and helps you stay on track.

“I take my parents’ values and opinions in to account,” Menchchaca said. “I always listen to what they have to say.”

Starting off as a criminal justice major, Lizeth cherished the professors and the classes, but never grew an interest toward the subject. Halfway through her first year, she sprouted a soft spot for education and made the decision to switch majors in her third semester.

In her years as a young girl, Menchchaca indulged in scribbling on her dry-erase board and teaching her sister everything she learned that day. Her love for teaching continued to grow.

“I never fancied Barbie dolls for Christmas,” she said. “It was always crayons, markers, pencils and books.”

As Menchchaca first stepped into Dan Waggoner Hall, she caught a glimpse of her future as a teacher.

“This probably sounds really cheesy, but as soon as I entered the building, I knew it was meant to be,” Menchaca said. “It was a moment where the school of education and I shared a bond.”

Coming from a Hispanic heritage, she strongly believes that people’s native languages are what make people beautifully connected to their loved ones. Choosing bilingual education has enabled her to come across many situations in which knowing two languages has been beneficial.

“I get to help students who have a second language,” she said. “With that, you are helping them understand English without them forgetting their native tongue.”

Being at Wesleyan has not only helped Menchaca pursue her career, but building relationships that have impacted her college life.

From professors to friends to co-workers, she has been able to embrace her four years of college with joy. However, because of her courtesy, generosity, and tendency to put others before herself, getting her priorities in order has been a bit of a challenge.

“Being involved in college comprehensively consumes your time,” she said. “And you end up helping someone else, but the interesting part is that you are learning something new everyday.”

The college grind has given Lizeth the best experince as a senior. She believes the outcome of college has more to do with the decisions you make as you go.

“I like to call this pre-adulting,” she said. “Your college experience is what you make it. Once senior year hits, reality hits.”

After nearly three years of friendship, senior biology student Omar Dominguez admires Menchaca for her hard work and determination. Their friendship blossomed to something great as they reached their college degrees individually.

“Liz and I have known each other since the start of our sophomore year,” Dominguez said. “We bonded over two summers ago when she and I were working for Student Life.”

The word “friends” holds a deeper meaning than the casually structured, everyday use word for Dominguez. Having someone from the same heritage and sharing the same culture brings values as close to what you call “family.”

“The majority of people I know are mostly considered as associates and not friends,” he said. “I don’t consider Liz as a friend, but family.”

Her capabilities as an education major and her focus on the subject has not only affected Domniguez’s life, but has shown him how to dominate his studies and overcome some of his personal hurdles in his own college life.

“She is very reliable with her work,” he said. “She hardly says no; her confidence has always been a good attitude to be around with.”

Menchaca’s impressive role as a student has not only impacted her fellow students like Dominguez, but also her professors.

Professor of education Dr. Ellen M. Curtin continues to boast of Menchaca’s performance all throughout the semesters.

“I would consider her as an extremely hard working student,” Curtin said. “She is one of the best I’ve worked with, and I’m excited for her future as a teacher.”

The responsibility that comes with college is in your hands, said Menchchaca, getting involved in college can take your college experience to another level.

“If you don’t like your college experience, change it,” She said. “Get involved on campus and cherish every moment, because you will miss it.”

David Ravetto

He talks about golf, and only golf – 18 years with the sport by his side, since the day he started to walk.

David Ravetto, a freshman business management manager, left his home in France to come to Texas Wesleyan. Although he had the opportunity to attend other colleges, Ravetto combined his golf skills with his strong GPA to earn a better scholarship at Wesleyan.

“Being on the Wesleyan golf team is by far the best decision I’ve made as a golf player,” he said.

And Ravetto is quite the golf player, known for winning the Individual Golf National Title this May.

“I practice every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for four hours,” he said. “This really helps me improve my game.”

Golf has been a major part of Ravetto’s life for as long as he can remember.

“It all started when my grandfather participated in a few competitions during his high school years in France,” he said.

Despite the connection golf brings to his family back in France, Ravetto in no way regrets sharing his love of the sport here at Wesleyan. He enjoys playing with the diverse group of international students who make up the team.

“The golf team has athletes from all over the world,” he said. “I enjoy my time here, and what’s important is that I get to work with a large number of international student-athletes.”

Head Golf Coach Bobby Cornett said he enjoys having Ravetto on the team as much as Ravetto enjoys being a part of it.

“He is one of the most humble and best golf players the team has received so far,” Cornett said. “His potential and skills are of a very young star that is rising to be a successful athlete.”

But Ravetto has impressed more than just his coach. He has also impressed his teammates, like Leo Mathard, a sophomore business management major.

“David is one of the best team players I’ve worked with,” Mathard said. “His work has influenced me to be motivated and follow my dreams as a successful golf player.”

Mathard grew up with Ravetto in France and has competed in many competitions with Ravetto.  Their six years of friendship help keep both of them from feeling homesick, Mathard said.

“I usually stay in Texas for Christmas break,” he said. “With David around, I could never ask for a better companion.”

The men’s connection helps keep Mathard interested in the sport.

“Golf would’ve been boring without David,” Mathard said. “Practicing with him makes practice more fun and interesting.”

Mathard is also grateful for Ravetto’s encouragement, both on and off the course.

.”David has a tendency to drive you in the right direction, regardless if it’s in golf or not,” Mathard said. “He is definitely a pusher.”

Being a part of the Texas Wesleyan golf team has helped Ravetto to be more focused and engaged in his school work and as well as golf. It helps him build an active background for himself before he graduates Ravetto said.

“My goal is to engage myself really well in my academics and golf,” he said. “That will encourage me to be more steady as an athlete as I reach my senior year of college.”