Growing Up In The Working Middle Class

Growing Up In The Working Middle Class

People are waiting for me to fail, but growing up in the working middle class has shaped me to keep those against me on their toes.
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America's social hierarchy is based on the net pay you receive from year to year income, the education you have completed, your occupation, and your social networking connections. We have this developed idea called the, "American Dream." This is a belief that if you work extremely hard and you are dedicated to what you want, then you can achieve success. I personally view America on a three-tier pyramid structure that starts out on the bottom with the lower class, then middle, and at the top stands the upper class. The “American Dream” teaches us that it our social status is based on what we have achieved. This means that in order to be in a certain social group you have to fit the unspoken ideals that are based primarily on your education and career successes. The upper class includes people who are primarily wealthy and have high incomes. They seem to ideally be significantly educated and strong social networks. The middle class is unique because it has two different sections. For example, in the middle class, we have the upper-middle and the working middle. I was born into the working middle class. In order for me to achieve the very “American Dream” I would need to exceed my parents and become someone very successful, making more money than they do. The path I am on now, according to this idea, is leading to failure of achieving the all “American Dream.” I will not make more money than my parents do now, and they work exceptionally. Does this automatically set me up for failure to exceed my own expectations and the expectations of others? I certainly do not think so.

Growing up in the working middle class, I learned that you have to work for what you want and you have to work for what you need. Growing up in the working middle class, I watched my parents work long hours and live paycheck to paycheck. My dad would wake up early to stick me and my sister on the bus to go to school before he would go to work, then stay in aftercare facilities until he would get off work in the afternoon. My mom would spend long hours at a nursing home doing her rounds, then come home and do homework with me at the dinner table. My parents wanted better for me, so they put me in a ton of extracurricular activities and they pushed me academically. My parents fought for me to be in the higher level classes I needed to be in. They would work all day and come home to work as parents. I learned that you can dress classy and still find things in your price range all due to this magical rack in the back corner of the store marked with the glowing letters “CLERANCE.” I learned that nothing is free. I learned that I had to work for the food on the dinner table, the movie ticket I wanted, the dress I saw at the store, the school supplies I had to have. I did chores and I complained every step I took as I vacuumed. Growing up in the working middle class, I learned that you will work and work and work to pay taxes and survive. My parents are working hard to help me pay for my university studies because they make too much money for me to receive more than little to no federal financial aid. The hard truth is that retirement is probably a pipe dream because the social security system in place will be bankrupt by the time they get old enough to draw from it.

Fortunately, I grew up in the working middle class. Yeah you read that right. I am very thankful for the household I grew up in because it instilled a drive inside of me. I did not have it bad at all. Everyone faces tribulations and hardships, and of course it sucked not being able to do certain things. However, I learned from an early age to appreciate my earnings and opportunities. I got a job at thirteen as a referee, making over $200 on weekends. I started to pay my way for social events and activities I wanted. At age fourteen, I worked as a child care worker at my church making minimum wage. I was able to pay my way to go on two local mission trips with my church. At age sixteen, I got a job at the local skate center and I started to contribute to paying for my personal expenses. When I moved for college, I got a job connected to my school and in the spring semester I held that job with a telemarketing job at the local newspaper facility along with my childcare job at home for the weekends. Long story short, I have learned that working is a part of my life. It is a huge part of who I am. I am very thankful for my parents and their example. I wish to work as hard as them one day. I have become very independent from this experience. I do not like taking money from people or people just giving me money. I refuse to accept handouts because I did not earn them. Growing up in the working middle class, I learned that family is important. No matter the day, we sat down as a family for dinner. Weekends were reserved for movie nights. Family vacations were the best vacations because after long hours at work, we get to spend a full vacation together away from home. They are not focused on their jobs while we are away. I have learned to be content with little. Money has always been tight, but my parents were always content in it. Also, when they did have more money they were content with that too which has taught me to be content with more. I learned that my education was important. Even to be in the working middle class, you need an education. I learned that just because your money was tight you still have the chance to be generous and help those who are the least of you. My parents rarely spent their money on themselves. They were either buying my siblings and I stuff or they were helping people in need. In contrast, I also learned that it’s okay to spend your hard earned money on nice things every once in a while. They supported other working middle class people by buying things and putting money in their pockets for their skills and trades. Besides learning to work hard, I learned how to love. Most importantly, growing up in the working middle class I learned that family is more important than the money we made.

Growing up in the working middle class, I was molded into the woman I am today. A woman of character. I am hard working, passionate, dedicated to exceeding my limits, challenging myself daily, and I never quit. People are waiting for me to fail, but growing up in the working middle class has shaped me to keep those against me on their toes.

Cover Image Credit: Melanie Rodriquez

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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13 Thoughts Broadcast Journalism Majors Have When Piecing Together Their First News Story

Quiet on the set.

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So you've decided that you want to be a Broadcast Journalist?

Many different thoughts go through you're while trying to first off figure out what story you want to pursue. After that, it's just a matter of getting everything that is needed for it and then putting it together.

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And how do I convey those things to my viewers?

2. What b-roll should I get?

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3. Do I have all the interviews I need?

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Who are the essential figures in this story?

4. What's my angle? How do I stick to it?

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Who do I need to interview for it?

5. What questions should I ask in my interview?

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6. What are the important facts?

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Should they all be included?

7. Do my voice overs cover everything that my interviews don't?

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What else is needed for this story?

8. Agh, my video is over the 1 minute and 30 seconds allowed time.

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Do I reduce it or do I leave it as is? I guess it depends on how much its over.

9. How should I say my tageline at the end of the video?

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The tagline is when the reporter says their name and their station affiliation at the end of their story.

10. Should I include a standup? Where should it be?

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What do I want to say?

11. Should I include a graphic?

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Is there something that can be said in a list form that the viewers need to see? Is it symptoms of a disease? Event details?

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Does what I am saying make sense?

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