This I Believe

Ben - Las Vegas, Nevada
Entered on September 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

I believe in myself.

The program was called SLS, or Summer Leadership School. It was a program that was developed just for the Junior Reserved Officer Training Corps at the local high schools in Las Vegas. This “Leadership School” took only sixty sophomore cadets out of their summer vacation from all over the city. At SLS these cadets would be screamed at by sergeants, marching in the intense Las Vegas heat, and above all become stretched in the mind from the extreme pressure.

If you were to tell me a year ago that I was going to spend a week of my Summer vacation to take part in this Summer Leadership School, I would have politely told you that you were insane and that there was no way on God’s green Earth that I was going to do that. However, to my dismay, I was one of the few cadets at my high school selected to be a part of the severe painstaking week.

I was terrified.

What was I going to do? A whole week away from home? I was going to be under the mercy of United States Military personnel from the Air Force! Why me? Out of all the cadets the instructors could have chosen in my high school, I had to be one of them.

However, even when I was loathing the fact that I had to go to SLS I still went. My parents reinforced me with soothing words of wisdom and confidence. My stepfather, being a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, gave me one piece of advise, he said, “Ben, they can’t take away your birthday.”

How true it was. I did endure the entire week, wishing every single hour, no every minute of the day that I did not have to be there, wishing that I could just magically go home. However, I didn’t. I toughed out the entire week, running painful miles, sweating like I have never sweated before. I was constantly yelled at for my mistakes and constantly under pressure, always having some sergeant in my face. Do you know what the miraculous thing was though?

I survived.

Yes I made it! I did something that was outside of my comfort zone, and I did it. I was confident that I was not going to make it and that I was going to break under pressure. I didn’t though, I made it! I showed courage in doing something that I was afraid to do.

After the ceremony at the end of the week, I earned a ribbon that goes on my uniform. I am one of the few cadets in my school to have such an award and honor. I now hold my head up a little higher and now walk with a little more confidence. With every hard task that is placed in front of me, I say to myself, I can do it! I have proved to myself that I can achieve the impossible, and that when I think that I have reached my limits that there is still just a little bit more left in me. I can be stretched, I can grow as an individual and accomplish tasks that I would have thought were impossible.

I believe in myself.