This I Believe

Laura - Littleton, Colorado
Entered on November 20, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

We live in a big world.

We walk crowded streets and are educated in crowded classrooms. In a society where the television blares accounts of overpopulation, I believe in the power of individuality.

I’m the first to admit that I, personally, have a hard time deviating from the crowd. By all definitions, I’m normal; in intelligence, demeanor, appearance, and background. Until very recently, this normalcy satisfied me.

Over the summer, I met a group of travelers from a hodgepodge of different countries. We spent days together on a small boat in the middle of the Pacific ocean, crowded into small cabins, eating every meal in the presence of the others, learning to scuba dive. After returning home from my vacation, I was quick to relate my adventures to my land-locked friends, but I soon made a discovery: I could remember only four of my fellow divers! I knew there were more people on the ship with us- I should know, we’d lived cheek to cheek for five days!- but couldn’t, for the life of me, recall their names or faces if we hadn’t talked or dived together. Then I came to a much more horrifying conclusion; what if they didn’t remember me? My customary silence and shyness had ruined my first multi-cultural experience!

From that day forward, I have pledged to work on my bland desire to be normal, and I’m engaged in a slow, uphill battle against my shyness. Sometimes I think that there’s nothing wrong with being average, that a relapse would be easier than continued frustration and embarrassment, but then I recall what a big world it is. I think of the crowded hallways at my school and the forty-something kids in my classroom. To make a mark, one must be outgoing and remarkable, so I believe my struggle is valiant. This I believe.