We asked GEL students and alumni to share their beliefs in essay form. The GEL program has long been one that helps students assess themselves and navigate social and moral landscapes. Instructors in this program frequently assignI believe thatEssays, sometimes as an introduction to these landscapes, sometimes as a memory. of many sevenI believe thatThe essays caught the attention of a reading committee made up of students, faculty, and staff.
I believe thatis a popular essay genre that allows the author to share a personal belief and explain through a narrative the origin of that belief or when that belief was put into practice. The essay genre began in the 1950s on a radio show starring Edward R. Murrow and was continued by NPR in 2004. Many have enjoyed writing and reading these essays ever since. You can read or listen to tens of thousands of them.I believe thattrials inI think so.org.
To submit your essay for the 2019-2020 academic year, please use the following link:
The Writing Center is proud to present CSUSMI believe thatescaparateWinners and their essays from the 2018-2019 academic year!
- "I Am Enough" by Adrianna Adame
- "The Power of Potstickers" by Lauren Brown
- "I Believe in Healing" by Yahaira Cazares
- "Patience and Perseverance" by Erica Gershom
- Faith, Hope and Love by Karen Sigüenza
- "I Believe in Loving Myself" by Samantha Sparkenbach
- "Infatuation" by Reignmarc Vincent Labugen
All my life I have always seen myself as a failure. I was a failure because I wasn't smart enough, nice enough, or pretty enough. I have always criticized myself for not trying hard enough to reach my full potential. However, it was not about realizing my full potential, but about not living up to the unrealistic expectations that I had placed on myself and those closest to me. The burdens I carried weighed down on me like an anchor holds up a ship. Only it was attached to my spirit instead of my ankle or a ship. The weight of self-hatred and low self-esteem made me feel like I was drowning. In the distance there was no bright horizon but more black and gray clouds that would bring me another storm.
Day after day I looked at myself in the mirror and pulled myself. He told me every night that it was never enough. I considered myself a weak and worthless individual, a waste of time. That kind of hateful thinking made it a struggle to stay afloat. Before I knew it, I was plagued by anxiety and an eating disorder. I woke up every morning just to prepare myself to face the difficulties of my illnesses.
Eventually, I was completely consumed by the storm of my dark thoughts. I fought to get through every day. It was a struggle to pretend everything was fine. He couldn't even fake a smile anymore. During this time, I began to wonder what it would be like if I had left. One night, looking out at the cold, rough waves of Monterey Bay, I realized that I didn't want to drown. I suddenly remembered all the people in my life who helped me at different stages of my life. He didn't want to disappoint her. I reflected on not wanting to spend the rest of my life trying to get through a single day. I didn't want to go through life in isolation because of my fear. I wanted to live a life where I'm happy and surrounded by people I admire. At that moment, looking at the waves of the Monterey Bay, not only my determination to live returned, but also my desire to enjoy life.
First I had to learn myself to let go of the dark and fearful thoughts that had been tormenting me. After accepting that I would never live up to my unrealistic expectations, I realized that I needed to seek help by talking to mental health professionals. I couldn't stay alone in the open sea forever, I had to get on the lifeboat and communicate with the people in my life.
At some point I realized that I was not a failure. In fact, I have been successful in many ways: coming to CSUSM; being able to be there for those who are close to me; and have the beautiful gift of having the freedom to be who I am today.
I think I'm enough. I am good enough for society. I am good enough to be myself without the burden of negative thoughts and unrealistic expectations. I am good enough to get the help I need from others. I'm good enough to have a happy life.
I believe in my mother's kitchen.
Ever since my mother realized that she would have to cook for me in college, she devoted her summers to teaching me how to cook. Whether it was teaching me how to use a pressure cooker, showing me the best way to remove the skin from garlic, or how to properly sauté chicken fingers in a wok, the resilience my mother had was passed down as she knew it was admirable. She insisted that exact measurements or exact ingredients weren't necessary and that cooking was an art rather than a hard science, but still I felt she would certainly obliterate any flavor or texture with a single misplaced grain of salt; No compromise would produce perfection. Still, she insisted that she pour rice into the pot without a measuring cup, and my heart sank in disappointment when I watched the soupy, watery mess fall heavily into the trash can.
"Sometimes things won't be perfect," he told me, "and you just have to roll up your sleeves and realize that finding a different solution is the only way to save court."
From then on I began to see the compromises and solutions that my mother talked about, not only in the kitchen but in the life around her.
My mother wanted to make us a traditional Taiwanese dinner, one that her mother would prepare for her before she left for the United States. However, my younger brother's palette, who only appreciated the complexity of chicken nuggets and pizza slices, refused to eat our family cultural feast. The next time my mom wanted to recreate the dishes, she opted for Trader Joe's frozen potstickers with beef and American broccoli instead of slaw and bok choy. While this catered to my siblings' tastes and preferences, I couldn't help but despair at the changes to the recipes that were so dear to me and despair at the compromise of our culture.
When I was in college, my mom diligently filled a freezer bag with our prepackaged meals from home, and Trader Joe's sticks were placed on top of the frozen meals.
Having roommates in college was a pretty big payoff in itself, but going out to eat proved particularly difficult. When I was surprised by my roommates asking how my meals tasted, I naturally engaged, as my mother did, cooking for everyone and adapting to her preferences and limitations. Egg noodles instead of rice. Less sesame oil and more soy sauce. Although I didn't welcome these changes to my dinners at first and was concerned that the substitutes would be a mediocre dinner, I slowly discovered that I liked the alternatives better than the recipes. I went ahead and added fried eggs, bean sprouts, spinach, and spam to the pre-packaged ramen noodles that only required powdered flavor packets, and even my roommates started showing interest in the unorthodox combination.
While exact measurements in recipes put me at ease, I do my best to add a pinch and a pinch of this to my meals every once in a while. So I can get out of my comfort zone every day. And I see a new wisdom within me: it's okay to get off the beaten path, you can experiment, commitment can lead to something new and beautiful. My mom's cooking taught me that and I hope to take it with me wherever I go.
I believe in healing. I believe in the permanent healing process. On September 1, 2017, I had an experience that has made the last year very difficult for me and my family. I long to heal, and sometimes I feel like these healing steps are possible because I believe in hope, and that hope is part of healing. The idea that if I am not okay or happy right now, but I have the capacity to be happy and okay in the future, is a motivating force for healing. I am in a place where I welcome hurt and pain because I understand that this is part of the healing process. I also embrace laughter and new opportunities because I believe that letting unhappiness paralyze me will paralyze my healing.
I believe that as a human being I am capable of letting love heal me. I think my dog heals me when he lies on my chest; if he covers my younger brother, he heals me; when he hugged my parents, they heal me; When I watch "While You Were Sleeping" for the fifteenth time, he heals me. I am in the process of growing up, and what I mean by that is that I am "filling my cup to the brim." I choose to fill my cup with understanding. The healing process is like filling my cup with one drop a day, desperately unbearable but sorely needed to appreciate a full cup.
I have been in Mexico almost every weekend, I see a lot of poverty, mothers sitting on the floor in the hottest and coldest temperatures with their babies and toddlers on their laps trying to sell gum for loose change. I had never faced poverty to this degree, and yet babies and toddlers played and laughed with bricks or a single action figure that they had to share to create a fantasy, a game. Then I realized that they were healing. Children heal because they believe that good outweighs evil. They wait willingly and neglect the possibility of failure. As an adult, that diminishes. Experience takes it away from you, trauma takes it away from you, insecurity takes it away from you. healing brings it back. Restore hope, restore the unshakable belief that things will not always be bad. That there is always room for growth, always room for healing. Understanding why things happen and appreciating things that cannot be understood. There is power in that, power that I hope to possess one day. I believe in change, I believe in growth, I believe in healing.
I believe that nothing in this world is unattainable when an individual works hard to achieve their goals. I have witnessed firsthand the power of persistence and how it can completely transform a person's lifestyle and mindset. As an aspiring surgeon, I realize that it takes more than good grades and volunteer experience to become a lifeguard. Devoting my life to helping patients requires an enormous amount of sacrifice, self-control, and determination. In 2016, my father suffered a stroke that permanently affected his ability to walk and talk. At that time he was enrolled in four AP classes, two dual enrollment classes, A.V.I.D. and he attended three clubs on campus. I also volunteered at Loma Linda Hospital on the weekends and sang in church on Sundays. I was only able to balance all my academic and extracurricular activities because I believed in myself. I believed that I could work harder than usual to balance my school and family life. I stayed up late studying for exams and got up early to drive my younger siblings to school as my mother had no choice but to work two jobs after my father became physically disabled. I don't know who I would be today if I hadn't overcome those harsh circumstances and made it through high school despite the tragic events in my life. All I wanted was to wallow in self-pity and feel terrible about all the setbacks that were happening in my life. However, I made the decision to move on and it was the best decision of my life.
Little by little I began to realize that my mindset played a big part in how much work I could do and where I would be in two years. I told myself to have a positive attitude and be patient as I had seen the direct results of how well this was affecting my life. Today I still face internal and external struggles that normally would have held me back and prevented me from following my dreams, but a small motivational voice in my head tells me to keep going. As a 19 year old female, I am proud to say that I have achieved many milestones in my life that were on my to-do list and that makes my passion to become a doctor even stronger, all thanks to hard work and patience. .
Now, when someone asks me if I'm really willing to go through another 14 years of study (including residency and training) to become a surgeon, I'll say "absolutely, without a doubt." Hard work was not only a tool for success, but it also gave my life meaning. It has taught me to have a good work ethic and always aim higher in everything I do. It also showed me that I have the power to change my own life and determine who I could be in this vast world. Success is not measured by the position a person is in, but by how much work they have put in and how many challenges they have faced. With this in mind, I am willing to do whatever it takes to achieve my goal of becoming a great doctor and an even better person.
When I was six years old, my father, an undocumented immigrant, was deported. I never knew that's why he moved to Mexico. I always thought he just took his stuff and left. Three years later my mother was also deported. I remember when ICE came to our room at 6 in the morning. We were sleeping, and suddenly one of the ICE agents fully dressed my sister and me and sent us to my aunt's house. He didn't understand anything that was happening. I mean, I was nine years old and my family didn't bring it up with me until a year later.
Every night I prayed to God that my mother was okay. It was my faith in God that has strengthened me in recent years. My mother sent me letters but she never called me because she was in a detention center. In those letters there were prayers. Prayers that we will see each other soon and that we will be safe and healthy. I had all my trust in God, I prayed to be able to see my mother. The hope of seeing Mama again gave me strength. She did my best in school and always stayed focused. I wanted there to be a purpose for me to be a first generation in the United States of America. I never missed an opportunity.
I wanted to make my parents proud and still do. Although they weren't physically with me over the years, I still received support from my mother. I've had some tough times in life that almost threw me off track. Through her, my mother helped me through difficult times, always giving me love and support. You see, the most important thing a human being can have is love. Faith gives you the opportunity to hope. Because of my faith, I never stopped working hard at school.
I believe that faith and hope are beautiful things. When someone says to you, "I hope you're okay." or "I hope everything goes well for you." , that's the best feeling in my opinion. It makes me feel good and motivated. It's true what they say, "it's the little things in life". Having hope motivates me to succeed. The Bible says in the verse Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I had faith in God who gave me hope. Faith and hope motivated me to succeed in my education. Without them I would not be where I am today at California State University, San Marcos. I'm here to get an education and get a bachelor's degree so I can have a steady job that I'd love to do. But without my mother's love, I would not be who I am today, a first generation student. I believe in faith, hope and love. I believe that giving or taking these three things can make you better.
I believe in loving myself. As a millennial, I am part of the majority of people who use social media. I was convinced that platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are necessary. I thought nothing harmful could come from an app, but I was wrong. After seeing photos of girls living luxurious lives and never having to compare my body to photos of models that were probably photoshopped, I slowly destroyed my confidence.
I grew up loving myself like any other child with as much innocence and happiness as I would sink my teeth into my favorite foods. What I would do to go back to a time when I could care less about what I eat because it could affect the way my body looks. As I got older I started to get more interested in fashion and makeup, I was more likely to go on social media for ideas and inspiration from online influencers. I figured it wouldn't be a mistake to do this because everyone my age was doing the same thing. People posted all the adventure trips they've taken, as well as the most exciting parts of their day. I began to realize how unsatisfying my life seemed in comparison to everyone else's. I began to wonder why I wasn't living as exciting as they were. Social media has not only made my life boring but also made me judge my body in a certain way. The more time I spent in front of the mirror, looking at myself and getting angry that my body wasn't skinny enough, the more I lost my self-esteem. The mirror gradually became a daily chore where she pointed out every little detail she hated. I saw myself as very different from what I really was and I only caused destruction within myself. I no longer wanted to go out or hang out with people because I thought people would see what I saw and not enjoy myself anymore.
I remember waking up one morning and seeing a stretch mark on the inside of my leg and it was splitting apart. All I could think about was that models don't have stretch marks, so why do I? He was a mess about it and just wanted total isolation. I knew better than to fill my head with unhealthy assumptions about myself. I decided it would be beneficial to delete all my social media accounts to see if it would make me feel more valuable.
As time went by, when I stopped checking my phone and comparing my body to others, I loved myself more. I started wearing clothes that made me feel really beautiful and suited my own style, not the style that social media was telling me to wear to feel sexy. I had created in my mind an ideal body that was perfect, and no one can realistically achieve that. My body is unique and no one has the same as me. Through the process of self love I have been able to help many of my friends to do the same and the glow that I began to see in them made me very happy. Through self-love I have learned inner peace and what it means not to depend on anyone but myself. I believe in loving myself because my body is constantly working to keep me alive and healthy. I believe in loving myself because I deserve to think positively instead of negatively. I believe in loving myself.
I believe that falling in love is necessary to feed desire, passion and happiness in life. It is a word that describes admiration for a short period of time. Infatuation is a viral emotion that can occur without warning. Whether it's a job you saw on TV, you followed in the footsteps of your idol, or you got the phone number of your crush. The word does not have to be romantically involved. Falling in love can end in disappointment. Sometimes it can become an excuse to never try a dream again. Time flies, somehow I got here. Thanks for that admiration.
I think falling in love is part of a process that keeps me open to possibility. It's hard to see it as a positive outcome, but the illusion of disappointment begins to fade when a new opportunity presents itself.
I can recall experiences consisting of undesirable results and disappointments. But I decide not to, because who would want to hear me complain about my past. I am nowhere qualified for a podcasting career. But I want to share my past experiences with you because I believe this is the reason why I hold on to my passion to lead a successful life. My crushes have always been a time where I did something uncharacteristic. Usually, my mother is the first to notice my actions, more than anyone else.
In ninth grade I tried my hand at college basketball. My mom called me and said, "Why do you bother? You are physically and mentally unsportsmanlike." Wow, I wanted to prove her wrong. That would be the best loser story you'll ever hear. I got cut from the team after the third day of practice. I was out of my comfort zone, literally and physically. Yes, it ended my dream of following the legacy of Kobe Bryant. But I couldn't imagine stepping out of my comfort zone again without being in this position. Rejection is my biggest fear, but without it I will never know how to deal with failure again.
In eleventh grade I finally accepted the fact that basketball will never be a reality and I do. That was how I returned to my passion for public service. I have applied for a position at ASB not once, but twice. When I told my mother that I wanted to return to public service, she told me: "You're kidding, don't go through this and lose everything again." a winning high school atmosphere. But of course my crush got the better of me and I filed my campaign to run for president. Running for public service is a big commitment. The leading candidate was none other than the popular girl on campus. She really wanted to win, but the high school population was too overwhelming. I can tell you for sure that my mother is a fortune teller, I lost the election by a landslide. Greetings to democracy.
My obsession with achieving a dream influences actions outside my comfort zone. I accept that being in love brings out the best in me. Short-term desires reveal atypical actions. It's a bittersweet process, but I'm grateful for it. While most of the results lead to heartbreak, they also reveal new qualities about me. I take advantage of it so that when the next wish comes around, maybe fulfillment is really a possibility.