This I Believe

Phillip - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: work
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I believe in the idea that competition can take an individual to new heights. Whether it be friendly competition or not, competing against someone raises your expectations, and makes you strive to be a better person.

Growing up with an older brother, only 17 months apart, we became the best of friends and had an unspoken competition of who could out due the other. During my childhood and teenage years, I along with my brother, were actively involved in interscholastic sports. We would always compete with each other to see whose Volleyball team had the better record, whose Football team went the furthest in the playoffs, or who could eat the most soft shell tacos. This competition was a great incentive to “push” me to be a better person, from working harder in the weight room, to practicing in the gym.

There was one particular example in which this unspoken competition made me flourish academically.

When I started college at the Pennsylvania State University, my brother was already enrolled in the Honors College at Penn State. The Honors College is a more academically rigorous program and students in the College have to write a thesis. My first semester at Penn State was a challenging one, to say the least. Being that there are no parents to wake you up, tell you to finish to your homework, or study for exams; it was a real eye opener for me. The first semester at college, I knew that I did not achieve my full potential. I did the entire freshman experience; making friends, going out, not living under my parents rule, and thus, I did not have my priorities straight.

When final exams were over after my first semester at Penn State, my brother and I moved back home and our parents were eagerly waiting to greet us and also to see how well we did during the semester. My brother enthusiastically told my parents that he got a 4.0 for his grade point average. When I heard this news, I knew that my brother had won in the academic race for that semester. From that point on, the unspoken competition with my brother moved from athletics to academics.

I re-set my priorities after my first semester and have been on par with my brother, thanks to a little friendly competition. As the result of this “competition” with my brother, I got accepted into the Honors College as a junior gate applicant.

I believe competition inspires individuals to reach new goals. Whether it is in the professional workforce or a friendly pick-up game in sports, competition, in all walks of life, motivates individuals to pursue perfection.