“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”
– Vince Lombardi
It was the ambitious, skilled, and educated that elected to leave their homelands in the hope that those skills would be in demand in America. Collectivist ideology and the subsequent economic difficulty drove immigrants to seek a better life. They left their homes, often at great expense and discomfort, to seek the shores of America and the promise of opportunity. Whether it was to start a business, open a medical practice or just work hard for their pay, these people moved to America for a chance at a better life.
America offered the chance at a better life, but the journey was long. It was not for those who benefitted from collectivism or the lazy; it was undertaken only by those that yearned to breathe free and seek out opportunity. This was the first step in the new life of a first generation immigrant to America.
After arduous journeys and the entry processes were concluded, these new Americans were now tasked with building new lives. The Industrial Revolution had created an abundance of jobs, and opportunities were available. It was nonetheless a difficult existence. For immigrants, work was hard. Factories were usually not pleasant places to work, and living conditions in cities were harsh. The new Americans lived simply, often in single-room apartments. They walked to work, and everywhere else for that matter. Only the promise of a better tomorrow kept them going. Day after day, they toiled and worked for meager paychecks, but they were happy to do so. They had made the journey across the ocean for the opportunities, and they were committed to making better lives for themselves. They may have come from a country that did not value or reward individual effort or endeavor but upon arriving in America they began playing by a new set of rules –American rules– and it was worth the journey.
These men and women worked hard for their very survival and the possibility of a brighter future. There are those that still live that way today, first generation immigrants from Mexico. Like their predecessors, Mexican immigrants made the journey to America not for comfort but for opportunity, freedom and employment. They may not have crossed an ocean to get to Ellis Island, but they still put effort into the journey. These are the people who are willing to work to survive and eke out an existence by any means necessary with the goal of making better lives for themselves in the future.
Working like a first generation American immigrant means to value opportunity the same way those who crossed vast distances value it. You must understand that it is up to you as an individual to make the most of your money and live within your means. If you value this opportunity and avoid wasting your money, you will find that the American dream is much more attainable.
This is what makes our great nation unique in the world. People around the world know that if they come to America and work hard, they have the chance to improve their lives. The journey to America is the first step to a new life. To make a living, these new Americans must seek out opportunities wherever they can be found. Whether they are fortunate enough to have regular work or rise before the sun to seek day labor, they are not sleeping in or enjoying the comforts commonly enjoyed by more fortunate Americans. This is the experience of first generation immigrants in America, the Land of Opportunity. This is the comfort that new Americans enjoy. Hard work is rewarded, and America is a land in which the individual can thrive based on his or her own effort.