This I Believe

Emily - Oakland, Michigan
Entered on October 1, 2006

I started my freshman year of college four weeks ago. An unbelievable amount of information has been acquired during this short time. For instance, I have learned that the library is constructed with separate doors for the entrance and exit. In this same lesson, I also learned that the library’s anti-theft gates are not designed to swing in more than one direction. I did not realize these facts the first time I visited the library.

The reality that I utilized the library at all was so incredibly impressive, that the doors were not really important to me. At that point I displayed some true academic dedication and quenched my thirst for knowledge. Who looks at doors when they are that intellectual? So, at the end of the visit, I checked out my books and then headed straight for what I thought was the exit¬¬¬¬– the same door I had entered through. Behind me I heard shouting-“No NO! Go to the other one! That’s the wrong door!” but I passed this off as being directed at some less academically savvy freshman going into a storage closet instead of the bathroom or something. So I kept walking straight toward the swinging metal gate preceding the door.

BAM!

I hit it… hard. I flipped over the gate and my books flew out of my hands. The whole library vibrated. Kids stood up, walked out from between stacks, and jumped up on chairs to see what had happened. From feeling the heat rise off my face, I am pretty sure that I had turned purple. Someone asked if I was alright and pointed me in the direction of the correct exiting door. I ran for it.

I will never forget that experience.

An eternal moment of shame is okay though; it is a good lesson in humility. In this collegiate environment, the desire to obtain academic knowledge quickly eclipses other aspects of life and the real classroom is forgotten. When my life ends, I do not want to arrive in eternity with only the knowledge of books, science, and philosophy; I want to know what life is, and what mine was. My father may not like the idea of paying for me to learn where the doors are located in the library, but it is a small part of a broader education. I want to pay attention, I want to do and try everything. I want to live. My life is a constant education on everything from humility, faith, love, and morality, to where the doors of a library are located. If I make mistakes, so be it: I will have learned more from them than from not trying. I do not refer to life lessons, because I believe that life and lesson are synonymous. I believe that life in itself is the greatest opportunity for knowledge humanity has. I hope to learn all.

Now, when I enter the library, I walk in through the entrance, then through a swinging metal gate and into the library. Then, to leave the library I walk to a separate door which is around the corner from the first door, through a swinging metal gate, through the door, and onto the sidewalk.