This I Believe

Hye Jin - Elmira, New York
Entered on April 27, 2006

How much do you believe in yourself? If I sounded like an atheist, I apologize; however, do you believe in yourself? That is, indeed, a firm belief on yourself that you can do it. Instead of giving up just because you know you can’t do it, you pursue whatever it is further and further because you know you can do it. That, is what I believe.

When I was thirteen, I decided to study abroad. Of course, that was the most expensive choice I’ve ever made; not only the money-wise, but also physical apart from the family and friends which challenged me mentally also. Of course I’ve stayed with the home stay families, but nobody could ever replace the support and existence of my own family better. I knew this was my choice, and this was what I wanted to do with my life, but I almost collapsed when I saw my family crying hard in that big airport on the day of my first departure. I could not even say a single word to the immigrant officer since I already was devastated. As I approached the gate, all I was thinking was, “Gosh, what am I doing? Am I really going to do this? What if I can’t do it? Do I really want to do this?”

During the fourteen hours of the flight, as I looked outside, above the white clouds and the blue sky, I suddenly thought of my parents on the other night. They said, “As you know, we’re not a rich family. But we’re supporting you because we know that you wouldn’t have made this choice if you knew you couldn’t do it. We believe in you that you can do it.” I understood how hard choice it was also for them, but they were fully confident of me and my potential; then why can’t I be?

Yes, it was indeed, hard for me to grow up by myself. I’ve had tonsillitis that gave me high fevers and chills during the early summer. I had to visit several colleges by myself; during the campus tours, I looked around and I saw tons of families taking tours together and discussing and talking to the admissions officers about the college. Whenever I saw my home stay siblings fighting with their parents and taking about how much they disliked their parents, I would just sit back and think how much I even missed arguing with my mom face to face.

But whenever I was in grief due to homesickness, I asked myself,” There are a lot of international students our there, successful in their career. Then why can’t I do this?”

With this “encouragement” to myself, I became adjusted to my new life. Never an athletic person, I joined a track team thinking if others could do it, I can do it too. I signed up for hard classes not just because I was smart enough for them but because I knew I could manage them. Others seemed to manage several or more of them, then why can’t I?

Even though I lost a lot of tears, spent lots of money, left my homeland and was away from my family, I’ve earned so many priceless, precious values for myself last three of four years. It, is not just a high school diploma or an acceptance letter to the colleges in America but the bravery to go further, the encouragement for tomorrow, and the confidence in me and my potential.