Always Try Your Best

Peifong - Holmdel, New Jersey
Entered on April 6, 2005
Age Group: 30 - 50

Always Try Your Best

I was 18 when I lost my father in July of 1981. He died from liver cancer. There were only two months between the diagnosis and his death. After the funeral, I had the same dream again and again of falling down a bottomless abyss. I knew perfectly well what the meaning of my dream was – I had lost the support that I’d always counted on.

At the end of that summer, I was supposed to take an important entrance exam to the engineering school in my college. It would make my father proud if I passed it. Most of all, I wanted to study engineering so badly myself, too. I was very good at Mathematics. My best friend Rob was also going to take the same exam in September. We’d like to imagine that if we both became engineers we could do many wonderful projects together. We knew that the whole world was waiting for us. But that was before my father died. Rob called me from time to time to encourage me to study. I’d always said yes just to have him go away. But deep down in my heart, I knew I stopped believing in myself. On the day of the exam, I didn’t go. Before our sophomore year started, Rob passed the exam and had become one of those prestigious students at the famous engineering school.

I regretted it. I thought no one would care after my father died. But at least there was still one person that cared: myself. I shouldn’t have let the opportunity pass by. I should have tried. Now without trying, all I had was regret.

The dream of the never-ending freefall stopped. Instead, I got new dreams. In those dreams, my father was still alive. He was sick and dying in those dreams, but he was still alive. I knew perfectly well about the meaning of those dreams, too. I missed my father very much and I wished he was still around. But there was no lament. I was one of the very few lucky girls. I knew my father loved me. And he knew I loved him very much, too.

I could not change my father’s death, but I could change my attitude. Losing an opportunity without trying is worse than losing a loved one. Because the one you love will always survive in you. But if you don’t try your best when opportunity knocks, there will be only regret. That has been my belief.

Since then, I’ve given each opportunity everything I have. I got my master degree in engineering. I’ve become a professional in the USA where I overcame the obscurity of a foreign language. There are times when I get frustrated, discouraged, or even intimidated, but I still give it a try. I can take the failure, I can get over the loss, but I can’t face the regret if I don’t even give it a try. I know, because I learned my lesson in the summer of 1981.