This I Believe

Claire - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on October 5, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work

I believe that through hard work people can achieve great things, but that duty is a heavy burden. I love to run and I am on my school’s cross county team in the fall. One of my favorite things in the world is to run fast at the end of the race, at the point where I feel ready to drop dead. It is very hard to do, but if I can give myself that mental push, I become d e t a c h e d from my body and if only, if only for a little while. There are days in practice when I don’t feel like running and my body is screaming, “This hurts, this hurts, oh please, let’s stop and walk,” and I only have my determination to keep me going. If my body had the final word, I would never run at all, but because of determination and through hard work, I can now run faster than I ever thought possible. But with my newfound talent comes a greater sense of duty. During races, I am no longer only running for myself. The weight of expectation of the two hundred other girls on my team, my parents, and coaches are on my shoulders. In practice, if something is hurting or sore, I tend to run through it, rather than slowing down and allowing it to heal. I run hard every day, even when I should be taking it a little slower to compensate for getting too little water or sleep the night before, and it takes its toll on my body. But I am working hard to make my team stronger, and I can make sacrifices for that greater cause.

Academics, too, have always been important to me. I have worked hard and done very well as far as grades because I want to attend good college and have a successful life. But academics have become a duty. I spend almost all of my time outside of school on school work, even though there are many other things I would rather be doing. I don’t see my friends nearly as much as I’d like to on weekends, because there are tests I need to study for, projects to catch up on. Staying up too late perfecting my projects and essays has taken a physical and emotional toll on me. Sometimes I try tp just leave things as they are and go to slep. Yet the idea that I must turn in the best work that I can makes me feel so guilty that I can not relax anyways. I do get high marks, but I get very tired. This year, I have more work than ever before and I know that I have to change my ways to stay healthy, but old habits die hard. I do not even know why I feel obligated to do well. All I Know is that I am no longer working hard just for my own benefit. I am working hard, because I must.