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.

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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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.


So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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