This December, Advanced Composition students studied, wrote, and recorded audio essays. Students wrote and recorded their own "This I Believe" essays inspired by the weekly This I Believe Podcast. While we're publishing the text of each essay below, we strongly encourage you to listen to each student's audio essay for a more intimate experience.
When I entered High School, I decided I wanted to participate in a fall sport, not so much for the athletic aspect of it, but for the team and people I would meet. I was switching school districts and didn’t know many people except for a select group of friends. Because Field hockey, Dance Team, and Volleyball did not interest me, I decided the Cross Country team would be the best fit. Running was okay and there were no tryouts, so being cut was not an option. I was not expecting much, as in years before I have never been very athletic. During my first season of Cross Country, I learned I really enjoyed the sport, especially running through the woods during practice. It was something about getting places on your own two feet. A car or a bike didn’t help, it was just your legs and determination. I did okay at my first season. I earned a varsity letter, but was not in the top seven or anything, but I was average and it was still better than I expected.
Then, in my first spring track season, it all changed. I remember my first race and how much I improved, surprising myself and my teammates. Back in the fall season, we had to do some timed miles, just to see what our paces were. I was never very good at them; my best time being around the seven minute mark. By a runner’s standard, this is practically walking. This was the first time I had run the 1600 in a race, so I was unsure of my pacing and how to run it. The 1600 is about a mile and four laps around the track. When going at a top speed, it can get pretty tiring. The mile is not a race a runner can sprint the entire time. Careful timing and speed is needed to get to the finish line in one piece.
In my particular race, there was a pack of girls running together, none of us quite sure what we were doing, like chickens without heads. I was just trying to stay in pace with them, hoping they had a better idea of how the race was going. My main concern was I would use up all my energy in the first lap and not have enough energy to get through the other three. About halfway through the race, my coach started yelling from the sidelines, “I know you all aren’t the same speed”. I took that as my motivation to pick up the pace. I ended up pulling away from the pack and dropping forty seconds from my time; getting me a new personal record of six minutes and twenty seconds. After the race, one of the top senior varsity runners saw my race and told me I would go to districts that year. At first, I didn’t believe her, but I worked hard and ended up with a district spot and dropping more time than I ever thought possible.
I believe people never know what they are capable of until they try. Before my race, I never knew I was capable of being a good athlete. Throughout my life, I hopped around from sport to sport, trying to get it right. I was fairly slow at swimming and could never seemed to kick the ball in soccer. I was so close to giving up on sports. That one race boosted my confidence to try new things in other aspects of my life. I have explored new interests, such as signing up to be a tutor at the writing center and participating in National Novel Writing Month. With my new found confidence, I have tried these amazing opportunities and plan to continue expanding my horizons.