This I Believe

Brett - Starksboro, Vermont
Entered on June 26, 2006

I believe in personal growth to the point where you are completely happy with who you are. All my life I have been a shy, quiet, and insecure person. When I was little, I was terrified to be left alone and wouldn’t even take a nap. In elementary school, I was always “out of place.” I was the smart one: the teacher’s pet. In middle school, I made friends with a really outgoing girl named Alli, who brought me out of my shell. I developed an attitude that was part rebellious, part sassy, and part obnoxious.

Then high school came and Alli moved. I felt scared and alone. I hated everything about me, from my hair to my feet, inside and out. I longed to be popular: whatever that meant. After a torturous year, I vowed that I would not continue on this path. And I didn’t. I joined the yearbook staff and was proud to serve as editor for two years. I also worked on numerous committees for school climate, alcohol and drug awareness, and dances. I graduated feeling confident and finally happy. I was ready for bigger and better challenges.

Then the day came when I decided not to attend Stonehill College. I realized that I wasn’t ready to live four hours from my family, and everything that I was comfortable with. The perfect future that I had planned, full of excitement and discovery, was falling apart and there was nothing I could do to stop it, and there were no words to console me. This was a bitter pill for me to swallow since I had always maintained control of my life, and very rarely had I made a “wrong” decision. I robotically planned my new future, starting with a phone call to Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont: only a half hour from my home in Starksboro. For two months, I was filled with self-doubt and a sense of failure. The turning point came when I spent a weekend on campus. Suddenly, my decision didn’t seem so bad. The campus felt comforting and welcoming, and I started to see that my life would turn out okay. My confidence slowly came back, though fear and nerves played an equal role. When I moved in, a semester later than the rest of the freshmen class, I immediately felt at home.

The lack of judgment on campus has allowed me to see what “finding yourself” really means. No one at Saint Mike’s is vying to be someone they’re not, including me. I have finally found that place where I am happy with myself. I believe the journey to find yourself ends when you are happy with who you are, and no one should tell you differently. Acceptance of yourself is an elusive goal, but once that goal is obtained, life seems to make sense.