This I Believe

Emory - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on September 7, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

The pressure of following in others’ footsteps is one thing I experience everyday. My brother and sister are the most intelligent people I have ever met. My big sister is fluent in three languages, including Arabic, a very difficult language to master. She also received a full scholarship to the University of Georgia. My older brother is fluent in three languages as well, including German; right now, he is living in Germany as part of an exchange program. He received the Morehead scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Being the brother of two extremely successful students, I have lived through many conversations revolving around both of them. The most awkward conversations come when members from my church walk up to me and begin to discuss my siblings’ accomplishments. Random members will walk up to me and say, “Well you must be so proud of Greg and Helen!” “Yes ma’am, I’m thrilled,” I reply.

My siblings are not the only talented and accomplished people in my life. My parents are successful in their professions and have raised three wonderful children. Even my best friends make better grades than I do, and some exceed me in both academics and athletics.

Such a lengthy list deserves some sympathy, right? “Absolutely not,” which I have said many times. I thrive on my believe that I do not have to be like anyone else, particularly my brother or sister. I believe I am just as talented as anyone else, and I do not need to follow the footsteps of siblings, friends, or parents.

At school, I participate in marching band. We play at football games every Friday night, and have competitions every weekend in October, which can begin at seven o’clock in the morning and not finish till one o’clock the next morning. My friends, who find pleasure in mocking me for being a member of the band, and random people who are just plain insecure, ask me why I participate. I can never answer them back, because they just do not and will not understand. I do it for friendship and for the satisfaction of knowing that I am good at it. “Why would you waste so much time in a goofy uniform playing music from the seventies?” one might ask. My response is simply, “because I can.”

I believe I do not need to follow in the footsteps of my siblings, parents, or friends. I will sidestep them and smirk at them as I walk around their steps. In fact, I will pour fresh concrete and make my own permanent mark, my own footsteps. Whether I live up to expectations of others or not, it does not matter to me. I believe my expectations matter most.