This I Believe

Stephanie - Sherman, Texas
Entered on December 10, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • 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.

I am twenty. As soon as I say that, something pops into your head. Either you think I’m young with most of my life still ahead of me, or you think I’m old because my teenage years have past. This is perception. Once, my eleven year old cousin told me that I am old. I started thinking about his astonishment at how old twenty seems and realized that he does have a long way to go until he is twenty. Perception is a person’s view of something based on their personal experience. To me, twenty years does seem like a long time. I look back at what I have learned and accomplished and it seems like a lot. Whether I seem old or young, I have learned things. I can narrow my life lessons down to just one basic message that I believe is important in life.

My life lesson goes back to perception. I’m a college student at Texas Christian University. You might already have an idea of who I am, or at least who you think I might be because in our time and American culture, there are many stereotypes. I could also guess that most people are guilty of assigning a label to someone before learning who they actually are. You could assign many stereotypes to me based on my age as a college student or that I am a Texan attending school at a private university. I am not your stereotypical private university student or Texan. One experience that I have at assigning a stereotype is when I went through sorority recruitment at TCU. At one point, I thought sorority culture was superficial, but now I know the truth. I was skeptical from the beginning, but I decided to give sororities a try. I walked into the chapter room for the new member sleepover, lugging my overnight bag and pillow. I shyly glanced around the room looking for someone that appeared to be “real,” or what my current definition of “real” was at the time. It was then that a girl from my recruitment group came over to greet me. We felt the same way about sororities and instantly bonded, making her my first friend in Sigma Kappa. It is important to not judge people because the outcome could be unexpected. I’m going to try to avoid stereotyping in the future. This is one thing that I believe is important in life.

As a twenty-year old, I can say that I have lived for twenty whole years and I have learned important things during this time. I have presented one of my favorite life lessons: avoid stereotyping. This may not be the most important thing in life, but it has been important to me. I plan to gain more life lessons as my life continues and my perception changes. I am twenty. One day I can proudly say that I am older and wiser than when I was a young twenty-year-old. It is all about perception.