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The American Dream and Its Meaning in My Life

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The American Dream has changed drastically over the years. In the 1900’s the American Dream revolved around getting a better, richer, and fuller life. In today’s society it has shifted to gaining freedom, opportunity, rights, equality, and to be successful. The career I want to pursue is Sports Psychology, it uses psychological knowledge and skills to address optimal performance and well-being of athletes. It also works with developmental and social aspects of sports participation, and systemic issues associated with sports settings and organizations. In this essay I want to speak about my American Dream. My American Dream is about freedom, love, happiness, success, security, and stability. One way it can be achieved is by going to a four year college to become a Sports Psychologist.

Starting off the essay with the history of the American Dream, “When the American Dream was first conceived it was about achieving a better, richer, and fuller life. Owning a home and possibly some land was a huge part of the American Dream for most of the country’s history, and for some it still is”. The American dream has been historically challenged with every economic crisis which means it changes as different things are happening in the world. Although everyone’s American Dream is different, the economy and world events will affect everyone one way or another.

When being asked “what is your American dream?”, most Americans now think about success and wealth. In today’s society everyone is focused on how much money they have and are focused on being better than everybody else. The American Dream has drastically changed since it was first defined in the 1930’s. To me it is defined as freedom, love, happiness, success, security and stability. Everyone’s American Dream is different and it really is what you make it.

As previously mentioned in the essay, to achieve my American Dream I want to pursue a career in sports psychology. “Sports psychology is the study of how psychology influences sports, athletic performance, exercise, and physical activity”. As a sports psychologist there are multiple different paths you can choose. Some sports psychologists work with professional athletes and coaches to improve performance and increase motivation. Other professionals utilize exercise and sports to enhance people’s lives and well-being throughout the entire lifespan. “If you’re a professional sports psychologist you will often help athletes cope with the intense pressure that comes from competition and overcome problems with focus and motivation”. The last area a sports psychologist can work in is with athletes to improve performance and recover from injuries.

Sports psychology is a field I would like to pursue because I have always had a passion for sports and helping people. As I grew older I have always been the person people would come to for advice, for example, if someone was going through a hard time I was the go to for help. I love the feeling of being able to help someone and make them feel better in any way. When trying to figure out a career everyone says to do what you love, so I looked for just that. This job will be a good fit because this job is both of my passions in one. I have always been interested in this job and after doing more research it really is the perfect fit for me. Being a sports psychologist will let me live out my idea of the American Dream.

A doctoral degree is generally required for employment as a psychologist, but there are two different degrees that psychologists can seek at the doctorate level. “The first degree is the Ph.D., and psychologists with this degree qualify for a wide range of teaching, research, clinical, and counseling positions in universities, elementary and secondary schools, and private industry. The second degree is the Psy.D. (doctor of psychology); psychologists with this degree qualify mainly for clinical positions”. The degree that is best fitting is a Ph.D. because it opens up the range of jobs you qualify for. “Skills needed to become a Sports Psychologist are, cognitive and behavioral skills training for performance enhancement. Examples of this are goal setting, imagery and performance planning, development of self-confidence, self- esteem and competence in sports. Other skills you should possess are, counseling and clinical interventions”. This involves athletic motivation, eating disorders and weight management, substance abuse, grief, depression, loss, suicide and athletic injury and rehabilitation. “The last skills you need are consultation and training. This includes team building, education of coaches regarding motivation, interpersonal and leadership skills, and talent development”.

Working conditions as a Sports Psychologist will vary with the field you are working in. For example, educational Sports Psychologists would be more likely to be in the gym or on the golf course, working side-by-side with the rest of the coaching staff. “Depending on the nature of the study, a research sports psychologist might spend some time with athletes while they are practicing. In general, they would spend most of the workday in an office or laboratory setting, reviewing or studying the data from their studies. Some Sports Psychologists do spend their time physically with the team such as in the locker room or playing facility, and even in hospitals”.

On a typical day, Sports Psychologists spend most of their time working in an office and hospital environments, but some of their time is spent in the same environments as the athletes they counsel. This may mean spending several hours on a golf course, on a ski slope, or in the gymnasium. Much depends on the type of psychologist you are. For example, the clinical psychologist would probably spend most of their time with athletes in the relative comfort of an office setting and the psychologist would meet with athletes during a regular nine-to-five day. “For a Sports Psychologist it is very important to stay up to date with developing theories and research, this may mean having to spend additional time reading journals, books, and papers”. For almost every job you will need experience, “You can gain experience in this field by volunteering to work for research programs at area universities or by working in the office of a psychologist. Another option is to learn more about sports by working as a gofer or intern with the sports medicine departments of college, university, or professional athletic teams”. Participating in a sport in high school or college can provide insight into the mental and emotional stresses and demands placed upon athletes which makes it easier to connect with your patients.

“The U.S. Department of Labor reports that median annual earnings for all psychologists were $70,580 in May 2015. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $40,920, and the highest paid 10 percent earned more than $116,960. Benefits for full-time workers include vacation and sick time, health, and sometimes dental, insurance, and pension or 401(k) plans. Self- employed psychologists must provide their own benefits”. Personal perks include the reward of helping athletes. Also, depending on what kind of Sports Psychologist you are, you may get special access to sporting events. Sports Psychology is a growing career that is projected to grow 12% by 2026.

For my introduction to Sports Psychology, I first want to attend Florida State University. This school is out of state and is approximately a 15 hour drive and 2 hour plane ride from home. This will affect my experience by not being able to come home as often as I would be able to if I attend an in-state college. A downfall would be having to adjust to being so far from my family and being on my own in a different state. I plan on getting my PhD in Sports Psychology and a minor in psychology or sports medicine. Going to Florida State University will not affect my chances of getting a job because there are plenty of opportunities in that area. “The tuition for Florida State University is $16,450 per year with $6,628 in financial aid per year. There is an acceptance rate of 49% and carries both majors I’m interested in (sports psychology and sports medicine). There were also 720 graduates with a Psychology major”. I want to attend Florida State University because it is one of very few schools that have my major of sports psychology. This school is in a good area and has a good graduation rate for my major. FSU also has a field hockey team so i can possibly continue my field hockey through college.

To conclude the essay, the American Dream is about freedom, love, happiness, success, security, and stability. It used to be about getting a better, richer, and fuller life. Everyone’s American Dream is different. The American Dream to me is about love, freedom, security, and success. One way it can be achieved is by going to a 4 year college to become a Sports Psychologist. What does the American Dream mean to you?

Works Cited

  1. American Psychological Association. Accessed 27 Sept. 2019.
  2. Cherry, Kendra. ‘An Overview of Sports Psychology.’ Verywell Mind, 31 Oct. 2018, Accessed 26 Sept. 2019.
  3. Eliassen, Meredith. ‘American Dream (Ethos).’ Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2018. EBSCOhost,
  4. ‘Sports Psychologists.’ Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 26 Sept. 2019. .
  5. Schinatiger, editor. ‘Interview With Sports Psychologist, Dr. Jeffery Jones.’ Michael Husted, 26 Oct. 2013, Accessed 27 Sept. 2019.
  6. American Psychological Association. Accessed 27 Sept. 2019.
  7. Junior. “Explore Florida State University.” Niche, 27 Sept. 2019,
  8. Florida State University. “Florida State University.” Academics,

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