This I Believe

Alyssa - San Ramon, California
Entered on July 25, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I Believe Working Hard Pays Off

I believe in carving my own path and working hard. I believe in one’s power to

self-create their own future. A person that has helped shaped this belief is my friend Kyle. Kyle embodies a lot of who I want to be and reassured me that I don’t need to rely on anyone but myself to succeed in life.

Growing up, I usually got a lot of attention for always being the smallest kid in the class. I had to work twice as hard as anyone else to prove I could keep up in activities. My fifth grade teacher frequently singled me out by sending home book reports with low scores. She would never accept the fact that I wrote my own work. I would stay up all night re-writing papers two or three times using inappropriate grammar and misspelled words just to please her idea of a fifth grade writing level. In high school, one of my history teachers used to mock my love of football by saying, “Girls can’t play football” and then laughing in my face.

When Kyle told me he would be graduating from high school early to join the Marines, I immediately focused on making him proud of me. On the last lap of every mile, I’d sprint as hard as I could, my heart pounding out of my chest. Just before I’d reach the finish line, he would run up alongside of me and yell, “Race you!” My body wanted to quit, but my mind wouldn’t let me and I’d push even harder, giving everything I had before collapsing 200 meters from where we started. This just one example of how he would challenge me to see how motivated I was in class and in life.

School didn’t feel the same after Kyle left for boot camp. Thankfully, he returned, but not as the same Kyle I had known. He walked in standing tall with his head held high wearing the Marine uniform. He was beaming with confidence and pride in what he had accomplished. It was apparent to anyone who knew him that Kyle had grown up a lot in those short few weeks. He now spoke with self-assurance and projected a feeling of purpose in this world. Ever since then, I’ve always believed in never letting someone tell me I can’t do something, no matter what circumstances there may be.

Kyle’s motivation showed how persistent and determined he was to make the best of

every moment. He applied himself when he enlisted into the Marines. He showed me that I have the power to change my life the way he changed his. About a year later on April 6, 2004, Kyle was shot and killed in Iraq.

Thanks to Kyle I’m more driven than ever to succeed. Failure is something I’m both

desperately afraid of and not willing to accept. I’ve been doing my research on the military and even gone as far as to allow recruiters into my home to talk to my parents about it. I would love to enlist in the Army for two years as a nurse after I complete junior college. I feel the military would be a great place for my physically active personality and would give me the discipline and respect I crave. I believe in working hard and working even harder when you think you can’t go

on. Through all of this I’ve found only one’s self can change the destiny of their future.