This I Believe

Chelsea - Olathe, Kansas
Entered on October 24, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem

Dear future high school student:

I was assigned to write an essay explaining what I believe. The only problem is that I don’t know what I believe. At least, I don’t know how to take what I believe and sum it up in 500 words or less. So I’m writing to you. Whoever you are.

High school is a hard time, but a good time. You’ll learn to rely on your friends, and to discount those who don’t have your best intentions at heart. You’ll get up at 5:30 one morning, just to sleep in till 9:00 the next. It WILL be a time of ups and downs, hellos and goodbyes, triumphs and failures. You will learn more about yourself; push yourself harder than you thought you could. And then you will realize that you still have college and the real world awaiting you, and you will be scared. You will start to panic. Trust me; I’ve learned all of this already. Standing on the brink between adolescence and adulthood is the scariest jump you will have faced to date. Many friends will say that they are more than ready, that they are so excited to leave home, and that they’re not worried about anything. This is a lie. Trust me. Deep down inside, as much as many of us might put on a front, we’re all at least a little scared to go off into the big bad world and leave everything we know.

It can be a scary time, but it will be the most fun time you’ve had to date. You will get to do things that you see people do in the old, cheesy, high school movies. You WILL stay out all night with your friends, will go to football games and dances and pep rallies, will join clubs and broaden your group of friends. You will love every minute of it, so hold on fast. That is one thing that I have learned – hold on to it all. Take it in. Don’t let high school drama or catty in-fighting stop you from having the best time of your life. After all, in 15 years, who’s going to remember the fights? What you will remember are your best friends, your first football game, your last dance.

So what about the assignment? What will I write for an essay about what I believe? I will write only this, to you and to whomever else reads this: I believe in living in the moment, in taking advantage of every possible opportunity. I could choose to live my life in regrets, but that wouldn’t do anything to make me happy, but that wouldn’t help me to appreciate the moment I’m living in. How good it feels to stand on cold bleachers next to 200 of your closest friends and classmates, rooting on your team. How refreshing it is to wake up at 8:45 on late-start day and know that you’re not late for class yet. How memorable it is to drive your car with your friends listening to your music and know that you’ve taken a small step towards that abyss of adulthood.

Take advantage of every moment, and remember that this is what you will one day remember. This is what I believe.