Myself, I Believe

robert - cullowhee, North Carolina
Entered on September 17, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

My difficult childhood and the tough life-changing decisions I’ve had to make led me to become a firm believer in myself. The harsh reality around me never made me much of a dreamer. Dreams are nothing more than reconstructions of events in real life anyways; sometimes your own personal life, sometimes that of those around you. The big dreamers have aspirations to be rich and famous, like the people on TV. My only dream was to survive to see the next day.

I’ve always lived in a single parent home. I lived with my mom until I was 7. Then, I became a burden on her so she had me move in with my dad. My dad worked all day, and by the time he came home to our studio apartment, I would be asleep. At 8 years old, I had to learn the survival skills of an adult. I had to learn to cook, wash my own clothes, and dress myself, which wasn’t always easy. My lack of adult supervision allowed me to stay outside till late everyday playing marbles and mimicking pro wrestling. While most kids grew up with nature and nurture, I only had nature groom me. It is this lonely upbringing that made me the individualist I am today.

Deciding what college I would attend was the most difficult decision I’ve had to make. During the week leading up to national signing day, I had narrowed my decision to CAL and University of Arizona. Everyone expected me to choose Arizona because I would have a better chance in making it to the NFL from there. But in my process of making a decision, I had started to heavily consider my academic career. My appearance and decision on signing day shocked everyone that I knew. I came, wearing a CAL cap, to sign my intent to attend UC Berkeley, the nation’s number one public university.

So what is it exactly that I believe in? I believe in the power of the individual and how much the individual controls his own destiny. If my experience has taught me anything, it’s that you have to create your own opportunities because just dreaming doesn’t do anything for you.