This I Believe

Jessica - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 4, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

When I was a young girl, summers, to me, weren’t going to soccer camps, going shopping with friends, or spending all day doing absolutely nothing. Summers, to me, were painting fences, cleaning out barns, raising animals, and working on odd jobs around the farm. During the school year, I would be up at the crack of dawn before school started to feed the animals with my brothers. As a member of 4H, I showed cattle in county fairs. My up-bringing drastically differed from that of my peers. For example, I never had to walk the dog; I had to walk the cattle. I recall that my brother Chris and I would walk our cattle around the field on halters to prepare them for shows. As humorous as this may be to you, I took it very seriously at the time.

The strong work ethic I developed on the farm carried over into my jobs serving in restaurants, as well as my school work. I love to work hard, which was very necessary given my parents’ decision that I should pay for my education. From the beginning, I knew paying my own way would be a struggle, but contrary to public opinion, funding your own education is quite doable. That is if you have a strong work ethic instilled within you. Because I have this strong belief in working hard and diligently, I was able to earn enough money over the summer to pay for my college expenses. Although my youth required a lot of hard work, I am thankful for my upbringing, which has molded me into the person I am today.

This work ethic carried over to high school, the workplace, and eventually college. However, I have not always been a firm believer in the moral virtues of hard work and diligence. There were times in my childhood when I would be jealous that my friends were always playing and having fun. At that time, I did not realize that my parents were actually not mean, bitter parents but were in fact constructing my morals and beliefs. Over the past few years, I have come to understand that my parents were giving me the gift of self-reliance. As a chiropractor, my dad farmed only as a hobby. My family actually lost money from having the farm. I have recently realized that my parents had the farm for only one reason, which was to raise their children with a strong work ethic.

This principle is deeply rooted in my heart because I believe all people have opportunities to make good lives for themselves through hard work and diligence. Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”