English Faculty Publications

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This I Believe


I believe in second chances. Even thirds. There’s nothing like the power of a sincere do-over.

As a junior and senior high student, school was never my forte. It wasn’t for lack of effort on my parents’ part—my mother had been a fourth grade teacher and my father, a doctor, worked hard to keep me in one of the best districts in our area. Still, I bucked most school activities. Study groups? No way. Extra-curriculars? Not unless my friends were doing it. Math club? Please!

My junior year I fell into an anxious depression so severe, I required hospitalization. All I wanted was to sleep but my racing mind didn’t allow for rest. My kaleidoscope eyes—that’s what I called it—the ever-churning landscape before me that moved so quickly, I never had a clear focus on anything. The result? Everything of an equal, blurry confusion. I was as confounded about what to watch on television as I was about how to approach a biology quiz.

Doctors warned my parents not to expect much: “You’ll be lucky if she graduates from high school.” The dark waters of depression eddied around me, rising higher and higher until I could barely keep my head above water. Exhaustion overwhelmed me from my violent tread that led nowhere fast.

It only took a moment’s kindness to help turn things around. A staff member found a book for me somewhere on the unit: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

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This I Believe Inc. was founded in 2004 as an independent, not-for-profit organization that engages youth and adults from all walks of life in writing, sharing, and discussing brief essays about the core values that guide their daily lives. Professor Doench’s essay can be found online.

Permission documentation is on file.


This I Believe Inc.