This I Believe

Colleen - Manhattan, Illinois
Entered on April 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I have had many influences throughout my life, including my family, my teachers, and my friends. But, the greatest influence came from my friends who caused me to become a stronger person – I believe in the power of friendship.

Coming into college I was not a very strong person and I had a tendency to follow the crowd. Sam, Michelle, Jess, and Sarah are four girls who have taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. They are all very strong people, each in their own ways. When there is a problem Sam does not believe in beating around the bush. She tells things as they are and forces people to deal with their problems. Michelle taught me how to choose my words wisely. She has always had a way with words, even when the problem may hurt someone’s feelings. Jess has shown me that it is okay to make mistakes, because we will never learn anything if we never make mistakes. Sarah does not believe in letting anyone take advantage of her for any reason, because if we let people walk all over us we can never reach our own goals.

Their individual strengths formed my persona: stand up for yourself. Living on campus I realized that, I am responsible for myself. These girls showed me that I need to stand up for myself first because no one will stand up for me if I do not stand up for myself first.

These strengths not only apply to my life in the dorms, but also to my relationships, particularly with my dad. I could never stand up to him. I felt that by arguing with him it would somehow hurt our relationship. Over winter break, my dad asked to borrow my truck to go pick up some firewood. I agreed, but I asked him if he could please clean out the back when he was done because last time he had left it full of wood chips. My dad denied ever making the mess in my truck. I brought up the fact that he is the only one who uses my truck. It finally hit him that I was obviously not going to let him borrow my truck again. My dad now cleans my truck, reluctantly.

Without my friends I never would have gained the courage to stand up to my dad or any one else. I believe in my friends Sam, Sarah, Michelle, and Jess. They have changed my life and made me the stronger, more self-respected young woman that I am today.