I believe in Mistakes

Mallory - Midlothian, Virginia
Entered on March 31, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, setbacks
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • 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.

Parents always tell their children to “learn from their mistakes” and as children grow up, they begin to realize why. Humans make mistakes which is why no one is perfect. We all make bad choices and do dumb things which we know are wrong. Exactly a year ago, I made one myself. It was spring break and my boyfriend at the time invited me to a party at his friend’s apartment. I had been there many times before so I gladly accepted the offer. A few of my friends went too so I had people to socialize with. Not only was it a celebration of spring break but it was also this kid’s “moving out party” being as his lease was up the following weekend. There was easily over 50 people in his two bedroom apartment with the music making the walls shake and hundreds of dollars of alcohol in the refrigerator. The windows were open to ventilate the cigarette smoke and walking through the crowd was nearly impossible.

Around 12 am there was word of “cops” and the owner of the apartment made an announcement and told everyone if they weren’t spending the night to get out. About 25 people left with their beers in hand and the police were waiting outside to greet them with a stack full of tickets. The door quickly shut and a silence came over the apartment. An officer knocked on the door and the owner answered it with a loud “Come back with a warrant!” and slammed the door in the officer’s face. I was shocked at how I had gotten myself into this situation. Six police cars sat outside of the apartment for five hours waiting on their warrant which left 25 of us sitting in the apartment dumping hundreds of dollars of alcohol down the kitchen sink and waiting out this nightmare.

4:30 am rolled around and we heard a loud knocking at the door. The officers were yelling “Chesterfield County Police, open up! We have a warrant, open the door!” They slammed into the door three times and I heard it crash and hit the floor. Ten officers ran up the stairs into the apartment with their flashlights going everywhere counting the kids they could find in every bedroom and bathroom. I along with ten other teenagers were charged with possession of alcohol. The county took my license for six months and gave me thirty hours of community service to complete. That one mistake to go to that party even though I knew it was wrong cost me a lot more than a couple of Saturdays volunteering around a church or fire station. That mistake changed my life and I learned a lot more than I thought I would. I believe in mistakes, they shape people.