So many people today want to live in a bigger house or drive a nicer car and they don't care what it takes to get there. They will rack up debt to have something right now. I am guilty of it too - wanting something right now instead of waiting and saving, but I am proud to say the only debt I have is a little bit of debt from law school and a mortgage on our house. Our mortgage is about the same price as the cost of a nice (not amazing) apartment and we are hoping to have it paid off in 14 years. I have no credit card debt and my car is completely paid for.
To me, the American Dream isn't about having the best/newest thing but it is to make it on your own and live the life you have earned for yourself. This student will be successful in life because they know how to work for something they want and takes pride in knowing it was 100% due to the efforts they made in life.