This I believe: I Believe in Myself

Cheng-Wei - Mishawaka, Indiana
Entered on December 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

My life was common and eventless before I came to America. I was a compliant child. In Asian families, parents are honored and obeyed because they give children life, money and an education. Asian culture is also patriarchal. My family was no exception, my father is very strict, so I did not have the right to decide what I wanted to do with my future. Concerning the unstable nature of the world’s economy, he decided that I would work in his company. Some of my friends envied that I had a decent job, especially in this recessive economy. But for me, this job meant that my father has never truly understood what I wanted. In order to gather enough courage to disobey tradition and disagree with my father, I had to start believing in myself over all else.

My life transition started last spring. I had just graduated from university a few months earlier. One day, my father asked me to accompany him to attend a meeting in his company. What he did not tell me that day was I would have an interview with the board of directors whose members are my father’s old friends. When I entered the interview room, I was very apprehensive and felt the serious atmosphere fully permeated around this room. Before long, these uncles started to converse with me in English. Suddenly, I was shocked and completely unprepared. The reason was that I had not spoken English in a long time. And even though it was an easy conversation, I was very uncomfortable and inarticulate. Ultimately, without any preparation, I thought I had failed the interview. Fortunately, these uncles still gave me an opportunity. Actually, I knew they had pity on me and would not let my father lose face. On the one hand, I thought this interview was not fair because I lacked preparation; but, on the other hand, I knew that they attempted to test what I had learned at university and if I had improved my skills there. So, meanwhile, I admitted to losing not only face for myself but for my father also. Therefore, after this interview, I thought about myself and realized that I had not learned what I should have learned at university due to comfort, laziness and dependence. When I studied at university, I hardly felt any pressure and idled all day. Before I had this interview, I thought that as soon as I had a decent college degree and then rely on my father to work in his company. However, after this frustration and disappointment, I really realized that I can not be under his shelter anymore and I must make myself different to prove myself. Moreover, I asked myself “who am I really”? What do I really believe in? What do I really want and what do I really lack? During this inquiry, I completely comprehended that I lacked the courage to say what I want to do. After this event, instantly, I made my first important decision: I wanted to “study abroad.” The hard part was that I had to confront my father and tell him what I really wanted. I struggled to tell him about my thoughts, and I was very afraid of what would happen between me and my father after that, and what irreparable loss it would trigger. In addition, I knew that even though I could be accepted by the uncles to work in the company, I had no competitive ability to work alone or outside without their help. Thus, I really wanted to get rid of my father‘s shelter. My father had ever dissuaded me to study abroad and told me that today some working experience is far more important than a college degree. I told him about my plan. I knew that had I stayed in my country and under his shelter, I would be addicted to comfort, dependence and laziness again and I would have lacked no motivation to improve myself. I will not regret the decision which I made, instead, I know that if I did not believe in myself, I would regret it for the rest of my life.

This I believe, and this is what I live by: every person can believe in himself and follow his heart to do what he wants. I submit my essay with commitment to inspire other people like myself, who doubt they can believe in themselves, because I know that any and every person can if they choose to. Indeed, this simple principle changed my whole life and made me totally different.