This I Believe

Jacob - Issaquah, Washington
Entered on January 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage, hope

For 17 years, I have wondered on a subconscious and occasionally very conscious level, what I believe in and how that manifests itself in my life. This is the second time I have written a “This I Believe” speech but the first time I have something I truly care about. Recently my life has taken a turn for the future. I have buried my brain in the thought of what I am to become professionally and where I am to attend college. Through college searches, and those wonderful personal statements that we are all forced to produce for applications, I have become more philosophical than I had ever been before.

I have been wondering what there is in life that will grab me and how I can find a place for myself in this busy world. The conclusion is that I still don’t know. And that’s OK. I have come upon a second opportunity to write a “This I Believe” speech this year as a senior. Last year I also wrote one but I could not make it come from the heart. I spent hours wracking my brain, sitting in front of my computer, and becoming totally frustrated at the fact that I could not find something meaningful to me on a personal level. Looking back I realize that that incident actually fits right into the belief I have been reaffirming consistently of late.

I am struck by something that is very profound to me, but a less descriptive narrative than most speeches read on the show. I had to jump over many obstacles this year and in very close proximity to each other. Think a stressful, three month long steeple chase run. While any of these events does not constitute something worth writing about, the whole group does. Little things like a school assignment or a duty at home I have neglected, to things like a responsibility to the newspaper staff and a speeding ticket, to the ultimate deadline of applying for college and deciding what I should study professionally have been thrown at me repetitively for the past months. A moment that sticks in my head is the night of November 16th. It was a night that seemed to drag on forever as I stayed inside dreading the two huge tests I had the next morning. After studying for hours and getting seemingly nowhere, I fully broke down. I collapsed. I went downstairs and felt sorry for myself at about two in the morning. At this point I realized I needed to clear my head and get away from my math books. I put on a coat and went for a walk in the dead of night. There was a near to full moon out, and everything was dead quiet. As I walked along the road that loops behind my house I let all of my stress go and came to a state of mind where I was not going to let a math test doom my life. As it worked out, I got a low C on both parts of my math test but I stuck to my guns and did not let something like one test bother me. In the following weeks, I studied my butt off and retook those tests. I aced both portions and brought my C’s up to A’s.

Looking back at this adventure, I realize that I never needed to let myself be so negatively affected by one hardship of life. This experience is just one of many that has made me take to heart a belief that I can best describe as, “things will work out” or “time fixes all problems”. Much of what goes on in our lives will not negatively affect us in 10 years and we should not let it. There may be things that we can learn through our prime suffering years of high school but we should never let life bring us down. Maybe I can best make myself clear by using the words people have been refining for decades, “when God closes a door, he opens two windows”.