This I Believe

Yong Chang - Austin, Texas
Entered on June 19, 2007

I would like to talk about an obstacle I have faced on the first day I got to Austin.

As an international student, staying away from my family, I felt so lonely at that time and thought about going back to my home country. But after getting my health and self- confidence back from rehabilitation and having a satisfactory first year in college, I am proud that I conquered this obstacle.

After having a good time over the summer break in Korea, I had to fly over the Pacific Ocean and come to Austin for college. On the day I arrived at Austin, I got into a car accident while I was on my way to church. Right after the accident, the driver and I were unconscious for a few minutes and the person who was sitting on the passenger seat tried to drag me out from the car. After the accident the car was not salvageable. When I woke up, I was being carried to an ambulance and moved to Brackenridge Hospital. I thought I was fine except the bruises on my head. However, when I tried to stand up from the bed, my lower back muscle felt damaged. I had to make a phone call to Korea to let my parents know what had happened to me. My mother started crying and I felt bad for making my parents worry. I was also worried about not being able to move freely. I wanted to go back so badly, but I decided to stay in Austin and follow through with my plans.

Even though I am cheerful and have a positive personality, after the accident I started to look at everything in the negative way and got depressed. I was thinking about why I had to go through this obstacle and wanted to just quit everything. I had to go to hospital two times a week to adjust the backbone and get acupuncture. It was hard for me to make the hospital appointment on time, attend to all the classes and finish my assignments. On orientation day in the University of Texas at Austin, I could not sit in the seats for a long time because my back was hurting so much. About after two months of medical treatments, the doctor told me I was good to go; however, I still had to exercise for rehabilitation.

I was in a bad mood most of the time after the accident, but I tried to think in a positive way. I decided to eat healthy food, exercise properly, study enough, and spend the rest of my time talking to friends to alleviate depression. It was hard to keep these goals at the beginning; because I found accommodating myself to new surroundings difficult. As I stayed with this schedule, after a few months, I found myself with a healthier and more positive-minded outlook. I ended up getting good grades the first two semesters in college.

When I look back, I am proud of myself for the achievements even after a disheartening incident. I want to commend myself highly for the first time in my life, and hopefully I will be keep doing these good habits. What I have learned is that obstacles are the first step to success. When I first faced the difficulty, I thought my entire college career was over. However, I overcame the difficulty and used it as a step toward improvement. Therefore, if I face other obstacles in the future, I would be willing to put forth great effort to overcome them.