This I Believe

Jessica - Russellville, Arkansas
Entered on September 11, 2007

While sitting in class one afternoon, listening to my teacher ramble on about the essay due next week, I wonder if the essay I’ve been working on for days will ever be finished. I mentally go through all the things I must do in the days to come and realize I have little time left to perfect the paper. You’d think that after all the rough drafts I’ve gone through, my paper would qualify for an article in The Washington Post or The New York Times. But no, after all of the spell checks, all of the peer editing, and even after parent reviews, I have yet to reach a point in which I am confident about the topic I am writing about. After all, I didn’t get to pick the topic. My teacher kindly placed it on my desk and left me with a few encouraging words; “Go for it!” Now it’s nearly time to turn the paper in to be graded. At my rate of confidence, I’ll be getting back a neatly typed, one-inch margin, two-thousand word essay with numerous red marks and an undesirable letter grade at the top telling me I must do good on the next one or I can forget keeping that four-point grade point average.

Some time has passed since the day I turned in the paper, and as predicted it came back with a few red marks and an unappealing letter grade marked at the top. To this day, I wonder if an essay, any essay, ever reaches true perfection; or are we all turning in a rough draft at the end of the day. It seems as though we go through one rough draft after another until one day we have to turn whatever we’ve got left in. After the first rough draft we make correction after correction until the due date. Then we cross our fingers and pray that our sentences are grammatically correct and our punctuation and spelling are flawless.

Likewise, I believe that’s how we all live our lives. We are all working towards living a perfect life with unpromising confidence. Along the way we make mistakes and do our best to go back and correct the things we’ve done wrong but at the end of the day there are still numerous corrections to be made. The situations we run into are not always favorable or ones we would have chosen to be in; but we take them, gritting our teeth through the fake smile we’ve learned to portray so genuinely, and do our best to get through it as flawless as possible. In the end we know there are places where red marks will be received and until next time, we will do our best to learn from those mistakes. We manage to get the basics down, crossing our “T’s” and dotting our “I’s”, but it seems as though we always have something we could do differently. Life is basically one rough draft after another.