This I Believe

Robert - Gaithersburg, Maryland
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I was in his office waiting anxiously to hear the outcome of the tryouts. My heart was beating rapidly as I waited to hear the band director call my name. When the drumline leader was announced, and my name was not called, my feelings ranged from disbelief, shock, confusion—to failure. I left the room and wandered aimlessly. I found myself in the drum equipment room trying to understand what had just happened. Slowly, I heard a voice in my head whispering, “I like myself, I’m worth a lot.”

Eleven years ago, in a third grade assembly, I heard these words. I am not sure why this statement made such an impression on me when I was nine years old; however, it stayed with me to this day and helps me realize to always keep my head held high, and most importantly, believe in myself.

I was a member of my high school’s band and drumline. During my junior year, I was assistant to the percussion section leader, and the most likely candidate to become section leader the following year. Nevertheless, I took the tryouts seriously and prepared carefully. Becoming the percussion section leader was a dream of mine. I went through vigorous marching, memorization, and music tests. I thought I had won. When I heard I had lost, I was shocked and devastated—my dream was shattered.

I immediately started considering my options. First, I thought of quitting, but then I heard the voice in my head telling me to believe in myself, and that this setback would not knock me down. I thought about how my fellow band members would perceive me since I would no longer be their section leader. I knew I had the qualities, skills, and talent to be section leader where it mattered most—in my heart. I decided that no matter what came my way, I would still participate in the band. I would not have the title of “section leader,” but I would help my fellow drummers and demonstrate the qualities of an exemplary section leader.

Looking back, I thrived on believing in myself. Nobody could take me down, and nobody could take my pride away. I ended up helping out by teaching my fellow drummers the cadence, the marching routine, and fixing equipment. Even though I did not receive the title of “section leader,” I received the personal insight into the strength of my character. I believe that the strength of my character increases my self worth. From now on, whenever I receive disappointing news or get anxious, I whisper to myself, “I like myself, I’m worth a lot!”