What youth are saying about This I Believe

In the This I Believe online submission form, we have a space for reflections on the process of having written an essay. Many students admit they had to write the essay as an assignment; however, most essayists make earnest attempts to determine what they believe for themselves.

“As I wrote on, I felt like I was finally relinquishing a part of myself, accepting and giving in to duty: I was growing up, seeing past my selfishness and piecing together the whole.”
Ying Ying Yu from Princeton, New Jersey

“Writing this essay was like releasing a recently caught fish: I knew it wouldn’t put dinner on the table, but it certainly felt satisfying. Once I started writing, it just flowed out of me. I was afraid that once I put this belief on paper, it would feel too real, too heavy, and too permanent. However, seeing it on paper just makes me feel free.”
Brighton Earley from Berkeley, California

“When I heard This I Believe for the first time, I was touched, inspired, and silently challenged. I began recommending the program to friends. My father·a talented academic and great dad·said I should write one myself. He had never asked me to do something like this and his encouragement meant a lot so I said that I would if he did likewise.”
Colin Bates from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

“Truthfully, I had to write this as an assignment for my English class,…However, I found the experience to be quite enlightening. I felt like an explorer. I was given the chance to delve into the hidden mysteries of my past and discover what obstacles and paths led to who I was. Thank you.”
– Andrea from Seminole, Florida

“Like I said before, it felt strange in a good way to write the essay. Now, that I think about it, it was actually a little fun and a little mysterious. Not knowing what will pop up in your brain next. Doesn’t that give you the chills? Oh well. I guess not a lot of people look at it like I do. After I read my essay to the class, everyone applauded for me. One kid said that it sounded like something a famous person wrote. I am so proud that I wrote this essay. If my essay gets read on National Radio I will be so shocked because most of the stuff that gets read on the radio is written by adults. I mean I’m only 10 years old!”
– Melana from Barnegat, New Jersey

“Initially, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about writing the essay, seeing as it started out as a school assignment. But…I realized that the purpose behind the essay was an opportunity to do some soul searching.” “ …as it turns out, I finished the essay feeling so relieved, as if suddenly my head was not as troubled.”
– Channing from Wichita, Kansas

“Wow, when I first wrote my essay, I was so kind of nervous about how people in my class would react to my belief. They listened and were so proud of me for speaking up. It made me feel so great and so proud to have people like that in my life.”
– Bashair from Everett, Washington

“Once I got started, it easily flowed out of my mind and through my hand and onto the paper. I loved this experience. It was an amazing experience to see my thoughts on paper and know that I was putting down all the walls and barriers to my thoughts for anyone and everyone to see.”
– Ashley from Walker, Michigan

“I racked my brain for days trying to choose a topic to write about. What do I believe in? I’m only sixteen years old, how do I know what I believe in? My mind changes everyday. So I gave up thinking for awhile and pulled out some paper and started writing a poem. And then it hit me all at once.”
– Chloe from Atlanta, Georgia

“This essay flowed pretty easily for me, I felt really bitter before I wrote it but sort of hopeful after. It was very therapeutic.”
– Daniel from Kentfield, California

“Personally, I found that the requirements for the ‘This I Believe’ paper were useful in helping me boil down my myriad of interests.”
– Dan from Hinesburg, Vermont

“Surrounding myself with positive influences has helped me to grow in and to display the two things that I believe in the most, showing the light of God through my actions and words, and being a positive role model and a cheerful person, because I never know who is looking up to me.”
– Amy from Auburn, Washington