I Am What I Stand For

Elizabeth - Valdese, North Carolina
Entered on February 28, 2008
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 believe that what I stand for defines me. I must do what I believe is right and not what the rest of the world will accept. My decisions may not always appeal to what the world and/or society wants, but I cannot let that deter me.

Recently, I took an “official” recruiting visit for soccer at the college I have committed to play for. For an entire weekend, I stayed with the upperclassmen in off campus apartments, and we were supposed to just hang out. Apparently, the week prior to my arrival there were some issues with the team and their partaking in alcohol. There is a strict rule on drinking during NCAA recruiting visits, so I thought drinking was out of the question for this weekend. Personally, I don’t drink and do not find it necessary to do so. Saturday night rolled around, and I could tell that the girls I was staying with wanted to go to a party. I told them I was tired, and I didn’t really feel like going out as a cover for not wanting to get involved with alcohol. They asked if I drank, and I told them that I didn’t. At first there was a little questioning from them, but I stood up for myself and my decision.

College translates into a whole new world of freedom and no restrictions. At this point in life, some people begin to make foolish decisions. Long ago, I made a personal resolution never to run with that crowd. Yes, I am sometimes left out of the biggest gatherings, and sometimes I am a little out of the loop with the latest drama. But why would I sacrifice everything I’ve ever worked for just to gain acceptance from people? So far, I don’t feel like I am missing very much. I do well with almost everything I do, and I still have friends. There are times when I wonder what my life would be like if I ran with the crowd and didn’t make such a stand. The reflection I see is someone that I have no desire to become. I see a person who blends and has no self-respect.

The only hard part is telling myself that I won’t regret I did this years later. Sometimes it seems like bad decisions will never catch up with people. There is also the distinct possibility that some will forever get away with those decisions. However, I only concern myself with how I will turn out. There is a small part of me that wonders sometimes, but I have to believe that there’s much more to life than who you hang out with.

Whenever I have second thoughts, I just remember all of my accomplishments I have achieved without having to give up my beliefs. The people I have met, places I have been, and the successes I have experienced are more than enough to make me happy with the image people see of me. Taking a stand determines who I am.