This I Believe

Eric - Hollywood, Florida
Entered on November 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in always making my own decisions and sticking by them. Through numerous experiences, I have learned that in order to be successful, I need to make my own decisions and not let other people influence me when making them.

When I was a small child, my parents wanted me to get involved in golf. My dad always said what a great sport it is and encouraged me to do it. I spent years taking lessons, on and off, but the truth is I never really enjoyed it. Instead of speaking up, for fear of disappointing my dad, I simply went along with it. But one day I finally decided that it was time for me to choose a sport for myself. So now I’m in my junior year of high school, having run track and field for the past two-years and beginning to row. I throughly enjoy both sports. I can honestly say that going against your parents’ wishes once in a while can bring positive results.

When I entered high school, many important questions came up. The most important question was what kind of classes I was going to take. In many high schools, students have the opportunity to take average level classes, honors level classes, and college level AP courses. The junior year of high school is a defining year. Teachers and administrators always stress how important colleges consider this year to be. In private schools, such as the one that I attend, students like myself sometimes feel pressured into taking AP courses, which usually come with an incredibly heavy workload. And then there’s the factor of what courses your friends are taking, which many times plays a part in a student’s decision. At the end of my sophomore year, the biggest discussion around the school was, of course, what classes everyone was taking.

While discussing this with three of my closest friends, we all agreed to take one specific course in our junior year, AP chemistry. I always heard how difficult this class was, yet I decided to take it anyway. Little did I know that I was not at all ready for this class, and would end up dropping out of it, causing me much great stress. I thought for a long time about my situation and realized, “Why should I be taking courses that my friends want to take if I know that I won’t do well?”

I now realize that my mistake was allowing my parents and my friends to make my decisions. My error was never truly contemplating what I wanted. I found a quote that I now try to live by. It is the age old quote, spoken to Socrates by the oracle at Delphi, that the most important aspect of being happy in life is to “Know thyself.” This I believe.