“Jae Won! We have decided to move to America!” This is what my mother said on November, 29th, 2007. I was home from school. It was eleven p.m., and I was exhausted. I could not comprehend what she was saying for a moment. Even though our family had been talking about moving to America for few weeks, I was doubtful that it would actually happen. I had been attending an Daewon Foreign Language High School in Korea which had rigorous entrance requirements. Getting accepted by Daewon, an extraordinary high school, really had changed my life. However, it was an ordinary American high school that really changed my belief. I believe in humbleness and self confidence.
Before coming to America, I was an arrogant girl. I believed I was smart – smart enough to not study and get high grades on every subject, which I did during the middle school years. Being accepted by the elite high school with only a few months of preparation did not help me to become humble; I only became more arrogant. Attending Daewon, I was sure that I was receiving the elite education and that I would be able to go to famous Ivy League university. I believed that I spoke perfectly natural English. Taking classes like Economics, English Literature, English Composition, Speech and Debate, and etc that were all taught by American teachers, I believed that I was adequately trained in speaking English, writing English, and thinking in English. I never thought I would struggle to get an A in ordinary American high school.
Our family moved to America. I was sad to leave all my friends behind and leave the life style I had in Korea. Going to new high school intimidated me also. I was worried that I would have hard time conforming to American teenagers; however, I was never worried about getting good grades in my classes. The first semester in America passed by really quickly. Though I was confident at first, I started failing miserably. I got B in the English and in Physical Education. I was able to see that my English was not fluent enough to compose an essay that satisfied my teacher. I was able to see how weak my body was, struggling to keep up with my peers in PE class. My pride had been shattered into pieces, and I finally realized that I was not extraordinary at all; in fact, I was below ordinary. Realizing that, I became humble; I did not abandon belief in myself also.
Once again, I am struggling in my English class this year. I decided to challenge myself and take honors class. So far, my creations have not pleased my teacher, and I have C in the class. But I am trying really hard to get higher grade. I know I will get better. This, I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.