This I Believe

Justin - Heber Springs, Arkansas
Entered on October 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, work
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I believe that if you try your hardest, you will succeed at whatever it is that you want to accomplish. I feel that success is measured by how much work you put into it. Success is defined as the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or a successful performance or achievement. In this essay, I will tell how success has made me the person that I am today.

After my parents divorced in 2000, my mother, sister, and myself moved from Berryville, to a small town called Heber Springs. This was a very difficult part of my life, I felt like I had nothing to live for. When I first started at the new school, I had joined what the kids in my grade had called the “Goths.” I had begun to wear black and felt like I was hated by everybody. After my first year of this new change I started to realize that this person wasn’t me. My mother had basically disowned me and had cut off all allowances. I was left out of family activities and wasn’t allowed to go anywhere. I could tell this wasn’t the life that I wanted to live.

After this sudden realization, I began to speak with counselors about how I could change my ways and get back on the right track. This wasn’t going to be easy and I knew that I would have to try my hardest to accomplish this. After a couple of weeks of talking to my counselors, I had begun an attempt to make new friends. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy because I was looked down upon the first year that I had been there. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to make new friends, but of course this was middle school.

As middle school went on and high school got closer, I had began to get more and more interested in sports, specifically cross country and track. In 2001, I decided to join the cross country and track teams. As this turns out, it was one of the best decisions I had ever made. The first day of practice my new coach lectured the team on how much success the school had had with its cross country and track programs in the past. By this time, I knew that I had some pretty big shoes to fill. I would have to work hard to get up to the level of competition that was expected of me.

On our first run, about half way through it, I started to realize that running was for me. As days would go by I fell more and more in love with it. I would actually look forward to running everyday; it became one of my favorite things to do. Before long cross country meets had begun. My first meet was a great experience for me as a runner. The race gave me an idea of where I stood with the rest of the competition, it made me want to work harder and harder so I could be the best runner I could be. I developed a drive inside of me that pushed me harder in the workouts. I would try harder and harder everyday in the workouts, so I could get better. All of this hard work had begun to show. Meet after meet, my times would drop significantly and I would place a lot higher in the races, eventually winning some of them.

In conclusion, all of the work I had put into being a better person as well as a better athlete had payed off. It turned my life around. My family had accepted me for who I was and allowed my privileges to be reinstated, but more importantly I had got back all of the love that I really wanted from them. As far as cross country and track, I have set two track state records and became a two-time state champion in both sports. As it turns out, I was offered a scholarship to the University of Central Arkansas to run cross country and track. This all goes to show that the harder you try at something the more success you will have at it. Therefore, I believe that success can only be measured by how much work you are willing to put toward it.