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.
I think I can attribute my risk taking to my will power and determination. Ever since I was younger, I have had the ability to shut down the voice inside my head telling me not to do something. Sometimes that’s not necessarily a good thing, but it’s gotten me through some tough times. When I was younger, my cousin, who I was very close to, was involved in a very serious car accident. Due to complications from both the crash and the resulting injury, he and his father were told that there was no way that he was ever going to be able to walk again. Hearing this killed me, it completely devastated his father. But they didn’t give up. His father found a graduate student who was studying the subject of rehabilitation from paralysis, and together they worked out a rigorous routine to put my cousin through.
Every day, I heard the screams of pain coming from the basement, as my uncle worked his son to the bone, trying to save his legs. There were tears, plenty of tears, but they were good tears. My cousin pushed himself to the brink. He suffered from countless muscle spasms that kept him up all night, but he wasn’t mad! He could feel something! And by the end, he could barely walk without braces. But he could walk.
His pure determination and willpower pushed him through to something that no one ever thought possible; he motivated me to do the best I could every single day of my life because I saw just how powerful he, who was practically on the brink of death from exhaustion, could be. He inspired me to push through with determination, to take risks, do things worth doing. He inspired me to do whatever it takes. Because though proverbial wisdom counsels against risk and change, sitting ducks fare worst of all.
In 1928, the novelist, John A Shedd wrote that “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” This quote has forever changed my life. I believe that in order to move forward and avoid stagnation, one must take risks. Because my cousin has inspired me, I am willing to do the dirty jobs that no one else wants to, for fear of injury or worse.
I believe that taking risks is necessary to avoid stagnation. And though I may not have come to this belief all on my own, I live by it every day of my life. I take risks in school, at the gym, with my social life and even at my part-time job. Because I know that to attain all, we must risk all.