This I Believe

Sam - Piedmont, California
Entered on June 14, 2006

I believe that no one fails. I come from a successful community where every household has a six figure income or had a six figure income and now enjoys retirement. I come from a school that regularly sends students to Ivy League schools like Harvard and Princeton. I come from a community that by a large part has never underachieved. Failure is non-existent.

However, I don’t think anyone fails. I understand that people can have difficulty with something or they miss the cut for a particular activity, but are those things failure? Thomas Edison tried over 1000 times to create the filament for a light bulb, but upon questioning Edison relied that he had not failed but merely found 1000 ways not to make a light bulb.

I believe that without the risk that comes with invention and discovery, success would not be as sweet. Without taking chances in life, no progress can be made and life would be doomed to repeat. It is an essential part of human life to experience extreme adversity and to learn from those experiences. Were it not for Thomas Edison to even attempt the creation of the light bulb, then those 1000 attempts would be non-existent, but so would the successful light bulb.

I believe that with risk comes opportunity. I am spending next year at the University of California Merced, a new school, no where near the Ivy League schools in reputation and geographic distance. Did I fail because I’m not attending the same school as some of my classmates? No. Some would say I underachieved, my parents often told me that I did. Merced has very few buildings, very few classes, and very few students and professors. Needless to say, the school isn’t recognized by much of the community that I live in.

I cannot contest that Merced does not have the prestige that exists at Ivy League schools, but what Merced can offer is the opportunity to create a college environment that is entirely unique to everywhere else. Now, true, I will have to create my intended major, International Business, but I can tailor the class directly toward my intended goal. Unlike the prestigious Ivy League schools so firmly grounded in their history, Merced is an infant that must be nurtured into a full-scale college. But in that time it will grow and adapt, and much of this influence will come from students.

Despite what my community may say about Merced, I chose the school because I want to be the first to discover what it has to offer, to not only take the road less traveled but to also pave the road. To do the unexpected and make a statement while doing it. Even if Merced doesn’t have my name on a building or I don’t create a nationally renowned program by the time I graduate, my choice to attend Merced isn’t a failure. It’s my own way of finding an education that suits me. I’m just lucky it didn’t take me 1000 attempts to figure that out.