Motherly and Fatherly Love, by Derrick Mokaleng

My parents always motivated me to work hard in everything I did, whether it was my schooling or sporting career. We didn’t have a lot of money to live a comfortable life, so this motivated me to work hard to have a better life and brighter future. I believe in the motivation my parents instilled in me.

One of the most important times my parents motivated me was when I had the opportunity to run for student representative council of my high school. I am a very shy person and was nervous about having to speak in front of the whole school. My parents heard about this great opportunity and immediately encouraged me to enter the election. They knew that I was an introvert and very shy. However, in the days leading up to the election, they reminded me of the leadership skills I displayed at home and how my creativity would benefit the school. Thanks to their support, I ended up becoming vice president of the council, which was a turning point in my life.

The most recent and inspirational motivation that my parents gave me was when I was planning to come and study in the USA. They knew that I wanted to study abroad before the end of high school. So, they made such that I had the proper support needed for the dream to become a reality. I especially remember how my mom would always encourage me to work extra hard in my academics, so that I would get credited and accepted to TCU. My dad was the inspiration for my getting into track and field at a young age. He would make time to come and watch me compete. The motivation he constantly gave me to give it my all and strive to be the best I could, helped me become the student-athlete I am today.

This brings me to what I believe. I believe in the special love that my parents have for me. I believe that my parents are my refuge, where I can go for help at any time. They motivated and gave me good advice which resulted in my being elected as vice president of my school council, which gave me much needed confidence. Even though it was tough for them to accept, I received my parents’ unconditional love and support on my dream to study in the USA.

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IAAF World Junior Championships: Day 2Derrick Mokaleng is a 19- year- old student from South Africa.  His parents, Jane and Tsepho, are his daily inspiration.  Even though he shares his parents with his twin sister, they have always loved and motivated them both to achieve their goals and to believe in themselves.

Food for Thought, by Karenne Koessler

Being born in a third world country opens your eyes in ways the first world doesn’t. I believe in the value food. A meal may seem like a common part of your day here in the states, but in the Dominican Republic, every piece of food is a reason to be thankful.

My mother worked as an adoption lawyer during my early childhood. She always took my sister and I along on trips to meet with parents looking to offer their kids a better life. I was about six years old when I met Patricia, a girl my age, who was getting ready to move across the ocean to meet her new mother. I walked up to her while she played in the dirt. Keeping herself entertained with sticks and rocks. She smiled at me and invited me to join her. Her clothes may have been ripped, and she may not have remembered when her last meal was, but still, she smiled.

After a few hours of conversation and review, my mom finalized the adoption and Patricia, with nothing but the clothes on her back, hopped in the car, waved goodbye to her father, and drove back to the capital with us. That afternoon she feasted, after filling her plate with my family’s home cooking, she cleared every bit of mofongo, rice, beans, chicken, carne de res, and yucca off of it. Patricia thanked my mother and grandparents, for allowing her the blessing of her first healthy meal and for welcoming her into their home, she also made sure to ask for seconds.

I never leave food on my plate. I rarely toss out portions of a meal, and I never take my health for granted. We didn’t always have a full fridge, and the food wasn’t always rich in flavor, but a meal was better than none, and my sister and parents and I, all learned that lesson at a very young age.

I cringe at the sight of food in the garbage.

I always try to encourage my friends to serve themselves a realistic portion and empty their plates. My leftovers will never reach someone impoverished across the ocean, but it might make the homeless man down the street smile. I understand the pain of hunger and I, more than anything, respect those who are not as fortunate as I. I strongly believe no one has the right to dispose of a meal. I’m not sure if I’ve grown stubborn because of my family’s constant reminders to always clear my plate, but I know that there is someone out there who would do anything to eat the food I carelessly tossed out.

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koessler-photoKarenne was born in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, and almost immediately migrated across the globe.  In 2005, she and her family moved from their hometown i Nancy, France, to Miami, Florida. She is currently a double major at TCU studying mechanical engineering and writing.

I Believe in the Catholic Church and its Faith, by Danilo Poggio

Good Shepherd, which is located in Colleyville, is a Catholic church whose members are very respectful and participative. The sense of profound fraternal community that I found there really catches me. In Sao Paulo, where I used to live, it is difficult to find a church with such a good environment. I believe that it happens because of the conservative way that priests manage the churches in my hometown.

I was looking for something more attractive and now I am really excited about the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. Of course it is not about the church in general, but the important things that happen during the mass. There are three priests taking turns during the mass that results in a dynamic ceremony. I know that the Catholic faith is much more than the mass; however, the mass is the church`s front door which must be attractive to call lambs. People sitting in comfortable benches are not just spectators; instead, they are called to participate in the mass during many occasions. A good example is the Washing of the Feet, in which the whole audience is invited to wash each other`s feet. At the first time, I was afraid of going there to wash other`s feet, but a disabled man sitting in front of me washed a woman`s feet. Priest Jonathan, the priest in charge that day, said, “Come and live the experience that Jesus lived.” I don`t know how long I took to decide to go there, but I am really glad that I took the opportunity of living such an intense experience.

People dealing with lack of faith should try to find a blessed community like I have found. I am happy about discovering this beloved community because it brought me back to my faith, which I had lost.

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Danilo is an international student from Brazil enrolled in the TCU Intensive English Program.

I Believe in God’s Time, by Adriana Arbeláez

I believe in God because he held my hand when my father left me alone. I have had a happy and wonderful life, but when my sister and I were children, my family experimented difficult situations, which made us stronger. Our father left my sister and I when we were born, and our mother lived through difficult times because she had work hard to afford all the expenses that my sister and I had.

My sister and I grew up and my mother gave us all that we needed, but one day everything was dark for us: The money that my mother was earning, was not enough for all our expenses, and we lived difficult times. She worked as a language therapist and in my country, Colombia, that job does not pay well, so when my sister and I finished our high school our mother did not have money to pay the tuition. For that reason, we decided to demand our father for abandoned us when we were children. This situation was difficult because our father is a bad person who does not love us. I remember that one day we received a counter demand from him saying that my sister and I just wanted to steal his money, and in front of a lot of people in the court our father said he hates us and that he said to our mother that it would be better if she had aborted us. Our heart was broken but we heartened ourselves to forget that situation.

But when everything was so dark, one cousin invited me to a Christian Church called Rock House, which is near my house in Colombia. I went with my mom and it was amazing because we felt how God touched our heart through the Minister’s words. My mother and I decided to join the church, and one day, during a praying meeting, we started to cry and I heard the voice of God saying to me that every issue would be solved with our father only if I pray for him every day. I believed God’s words, but I thought it was strange because I hated my father and it was difficult to pray for someone who hates you, but I did it and everything related with the demand was solved. It was a miracle. The lawyer called and told us that our father called her because he had paid all the money. My mother and I cried and prayed for a long time. Since that day I am thankful to God for everything he did. I believe that even when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, the impeccable love of God is with us, and even when we are trapped in the middle of the storms of this life, we won’t turn back because God is near, he never lets us go.

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a-arbelaez-photoAdriana Arbeláez is studying English in the TCU Intensive English Program.  She is from Bucaramanga, Colombia.  She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and corporate communications from the Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga.

I Believe in Words, by Iara Roberto

Words are things that are used to say, write and think in every moment of our lives. Even now you are reading words and listening to the voice inside your head speaking these words. Words are everywhere, but we really underrate them. We simply don’t realize the power that words carry. It is completely automatic for us to speak and talk without thinking carefully about what we are actually doing. When we are speaking to a person, it does not matter who, we need to be careful about the words we use because sometimes one simple word can activate a hurricane of emotions in the other person. They are not always bad emotions, but unfortunately those are the most common.

Words can and must be used to create good emotions like support, love, happiness, etc. If you just think about it, with a few beautiful words we can change someone’s day radically. For example a “Good Night” or “Good Morning”, or “Are you home yet?” “Oh, I love your dress!” Just simple things that require no effort can make someone so happy beyond thinking.

Another example is reading books. When you are reading a book you experience thousands of emotions like anger, desperation, sadness, happiness, excitement, even love making you want read more and more. One phrase I really like is, “Beware of those who can write; they have the power to make you fall in love without even touching you.” This quote says everything that needs to be said. I have had the experience of loving a book character, being angry with a book character and also hating one so much that it made me angry, and all of this just by reading words.

Words matter when you say to your son “stupid” or “you don’t deserve it”, when you say to your husband “When are you going to get a better job?” or to your friends “fat” even if you are joking, for the other person that may be pretty serious. Another clear and well-known example is bullying. Bullying is just words, but we all know that’s not the case. Bullying is the greatest example of how words can affect others so much; so much to the point that they don’t want to live anymore. They wish they were dead.

I believe that words have the power to move the world. Words move the world; we just need to learn to use them wisely. I believe that words have the power to change the world. A couple of words or an entire speech could be enough to motivate a person, an entire community, even thousands of people to do wonderful things but terrible things also. A couple of words can save a person’s life, or actually end it. A book can change a person’s opinion about something that leads to something bigger like choosing what your career will be. I believe that words can be used for wonderful and amazing things; we just have to say them.

 

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iaraMy name is Iara, I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduating High School I moved to Fort Worth, Texas with the future plan of studying a career in the US as an international student. Currently I am studying in the TCU Intensive English Program. I really enjoy reading, investigating, writing, and listening to music. In the future I would like to pursue a career in Journalism and Criminal Justice

I Believe in Music, by Abdullah Alqasimi

I believe in Music. I can’t spend a day without listening to Music. Music has a lot of benefits for me, for example, it helped me to develop my English while I was living in my country. Listening to the lyrics of the songs takes you to someone else’s mind. With Music you can experience different stories, opinions, and new ideas. My favorite kind of Music is Heavy Metal, and my favorite band are Metallica. I grew up listening to Metallica’s songs, it effects in so many ways. Metallica are not usual band, they do not make songs because of money or famous, they make songs because they need to, or to share their ideas with the world. A lot of their songs talk about so many different subjects such as, war, politics, and religious. I believe in Music because it inspires me in my life and can change me to a different person. When I feel sad or mad I always take my phone and put my headphones and listen to music until I get finally alright again. I can recall one time my parents got into a big fight and the home was really intense. I couldn’t speak to anyone because all of them was angry. So I took my phone and began to listen to music for almost 3 hours with non-stopping until I situation went calm again. Music is a great tool, I can use it when I am mad or when I am happy. It’s really great that music can fit in all my moods, wherever I am, and whatever I do.

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Abdullah is an international student at TCU enrolled in the TCU Intensive English Program.

I believe in white lies, by Ka Yan Wong

I believe in white lies.

My aunt died on September 28,2016 because of the liver cancer.  I did not get this news until my brother told me secretly. I don’t know why my parents did not tell me the truth. I asked my mom whether my aunt felt better, and she always gave me the same answer that was “yes”. After I realized why my parents did not want to tell me, I didn’t mention about my aunt death in front of them anymore. I knew my dad really took care of my aunt because my aunt was his youngest sister.

My aunt was a diligent person who worked day and night. She did lots of part-time jobs no matter how hard they were. Because of her carelessness, her health became worse and worse. In 2015, she was told that she got the liver cancer. I had never seen her cry. In my mind, she always was an optimistic person. Although I was not closed with my aunt, I still loved her and missed her. Maybe my parents didn’t want me to worry about this during my busy work, so they decided not to tell me the truth.

My grandma also did not know about her daughter’s death. My grandma health was also not good, so she could not get any bad stimulation. My parents and my brothers did not want my grandma to suffer such a huge depression, so they chose to not telling the truth to her too. I hope this white lie can conceal the truth for my grandma forever. I know this is kind of cruel, but in order to let our grandma recover soon, I think what my family has done is right.

Although the truth is always believable, telling a lie is better than telling the truth sometimes. It is no denying that no one wants their beloved to get hurt or depression. Everyone wants their family and friends to be happy. I know it is hard to tell the truth in some situations, and some people will choose to tell a white lie in stand of the truth because they think this can prevent their beloved from getting hurt. As the matter of fact, people who tell the white lie suffers more depressions and sadness; nevertheless, they think what they have done are worthy because they just want to protect their beloved.

Lie is better than truth for some reasons.

I believe in white lies.

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ka-yan-wong-photoKa Yan Wong is an international student who studies at TCU. She is taking an English program now (TCU Intensive English Program). She wants to improve her English skills and learn more about culture from different places. She love to challenge herself. No matter how hard the life is, she will make every effort to achieve her dream. TCU  is where all dreams begin. Just do it, Ka Yan!

More than Meatballs, by Kait Sennott

A familiar smell that I have known since I was little diffuses through the house, seeping into every room. This warm, familiar smell signals it’s time to eat. My grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings are rushing around in the kitchen as they put the final touches on the Swedish meatball dinner we have once a year.

I believe in food. Which may sound weird, but I believe that food brings families together, especially mine.

I first learned to cook and prepare the rigorous Swedish meal after my grandpa died when I was 10. My grandpa was the one who made the gravy to pour over the meatballs, and now it was my turn to carry on the “gravy legacy”. Let me tell you, carrying on this legacy was nothing easy, but with the help of my family, I perfected it. Over the years, my responsibilities grew in the kitchen during meatball night. Once my gravy was perfected, I became in charge of mixing the pork, beef, egg, nutmeg, onion, and allspice. Now that I am 19, I am in charge of most kitchen duties during this time of year because of my dedication to cooking this meal for my family

Swedish meatballs are a lot harder to cook than Italian meatballs because there is no bread holding the meat together thus making it a difficult process. When mixing the meat together, it is crucial that you do not use too much beef because this will make it harder to hold the pork. The egg must be a certain temperature in order to hold the meat and spices together; otherwise the egg will turn into unwanted scrambles.

The gravy, which I eventually perfected, is the hardest because this involves determining the gravy’s thickness. If the gravy is too thick it will become oily and gross, but if it is too thin the gravy will drown into the meatballs, making them slimy. The final step of the meatballs is mixing the sauce and meatballs, and putting them in a large bowl topped with a particular parsley flavor.

I feel that all families would agree that food brings families together. Of course each family member is very different, but in between the dishes, laughter, and lack of leftovers, the food acts as a distraction from all these differences that would usually set people apart. One of the reasons I love meatball night so much is because it is one of the only nights, besides Christmas, that I see my family. My family, unfortunately, has grown apart due to distance and death. Meatballs are what bring us together.

My favorite meatball night so far is the one we had before I left for school because the new baby cousins ate with us for their first meatball night ever. Watching a new generation grow up with the meatball tradition gives me hope that this valuable tradition will continue for many years after I am gone.

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Kait is a sophomore at TCU majoring in business and fashion merchandising. Both of her parents were journalists, so writing has become one of her favorite hobbies throughout the years. She hopes to continue her love for writing and bring it into a career.

This I Believe, by Shane Battis

I believe that although religious faiths can and have helped many people find inner peace and motivation throughout the globe, I view both my life and that of others from a purely secular perspective. Though my family on my mother’s side is staunchly Christian and my father’s agnostic, I was raised in a very neutral atmosphere as neither of my parents wanted to pressure my sister or myself into committing to beliefs we didn’t yet understand. Instead, they decided to let us figure it out on our own over time.

Growing up in Kennesaw, Georgia—like most other places—allotted me plenty of outlets to explore different faiths without pressure. Together, my sister and I listened in on sermons at our local church and partook in several youth group activities. Though the Christian community was receptive and everyone present appeared to be happy, I just didn’t feel like I had found a spiritual connection—the whole point of a faith. I decided that religion, or Christianity at least, simply wasn’t for me and that was and still is okay with me because I find that removing religion from my life doesn’t lead to me to cynicism or immorality. Rather, it has just locked my focus on the here and now. Without any expectation of an afterlife or rebirth, I feel the drive to be completely present in every waking moment and to live the way I know is right and can be proud of whether or not it aligns with beliefs of the many faiths throughout the world. Over the years, I have developed my own code of ethics I can call my personal creed. This is to be kind to those deserving, appreciate all the little joys in life as well as have patience with the annoyances, and hold myself to my responsibilities. Instead of seeking out religion for guidance in the face of moral ambiguity, I look inward for answers which has led me to even more self-discovery than I think I could ever have found in a temple.

I have heard criticisms from several different people that I’m missing out by living outside of religious communities and that atheism is all negativity. It is true that there is a plethora of individuals who are vengeful and unruly in their expressions thwarting those who think unlike themselves, but these are actions of individuals and cannot generalize an entire following. Personally, I don’t feel that being an atheist means embracing a culture of negativity, but simply stepping away from all religions passively and upholding secular ideals instead. By doing so, I am not trodding on other lifestyles; I’m just choosing an alternate one.

I don’t feel disheartened about my spirituality since I am still able to find purpose and love in a secular world. As far as I can tell, at the core of every religious faith and every practice and every prayer is the desire to feel a sense of belonging and direction as life can often be daunting without something steady to rely on. For this reason, I think everyone is entitled to believe in whatever makes them happy and atheism does so for me for several reasons. Firstly, I love that I have unlimited freedom to choose my virtues and fulfill them on my own conscience. Like so many other members of my generation, I strive to be a free thinking individual and by building my own pyramid of thoughts and convictions I am successful in that. It feels far more rewarding to me knowing that whenever I do something for the greater good I am doing it because I know it is right and not just because that’s what has been preached to me. This makes all my actions speak for who I am. Now I’d like to be clear in that I do not think religious people would be without a moral compass if they gave up their faith; their nature is innate and I admire their kindhearted spirits. What I’m saying is that I take pride in my personal brand of morality because I arrived at it independently and that these are simply two different routes leading to the same ultimate goal of finding humanity.

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img_3623Shane Battis is a journalism major in the Bob Sheiffer School of Journalism at TCU.

 

I believe that success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm, by Leosi Kaloso

Unlike Alexis Guadalupe, who had been playing basketball since first grade, I had never even touched a basketball until I decided to play in an intramural league in the ninth grade.  My friends, who were on the team last year, motivated me to tryout. Therefore, after school I went to the tryouts and surprisingly, I saw most of my friends there. The head girl basketball coach, Coach Abigail Hare, had us do layups, free throws, running up the bleachers, three-point line shooting, two-point line shooting, and suicides. Then we had to run a couple of plays and I was so tired I could barely keep up with the other girls. I started breathing fast, my legs were shaking, and I could barely speak. I started to think that maybe basketball was not just for me. Also other girls told me that I was so weak to be able to play for the team, all those compliment really brought me down. When Coach Hare substituted me out with Molly Gonzales, my attitude transformed from happy into heart broken and aggravated. Molly was a year younger than I was; she had never played basketball before, but she was strong enough to run all the plays until the end of the tryout which I could not.

I told myself if she can do it, I can as well. I knew the next day of the try out was not going to be easy, but I had show up on time ready to go, I kept up with other players until the end of the tryout, I was supporting myself to never quit. My number one goal was to support and be there for myself. I never tried to be a a killer but a hard working fighter.

I believe in hard work and I told myself that there are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

The next day I heard that my name was on the team list.  I made the team! I was on my first school team! My teammates rushed up to me, high-fived and slapped me on the back. I announced this novel concept to my mother. She was proud of me. She hugged and kissed my head. She congratulated me and wished me the best. When I moved into the tenth grade, we played against Tremble Tech high school. I still had no concept of the game, but I was fast and played with hustle and enthusiasm, so I got some playing time. I fondly remember being able to jump high enough to get my fingers over the edge of the rim. Not so fondly, I remember the fateful day I jumped incredibly high to make a pass over the outstretched arms of the defenders and came down wrong on my foot.  I sprained my ankle. It instantly swelled up to about the size of a basketball.   This injury was painful and took weeks to recover from. That was the end of the season. I was scared that I may not be able to play again, basketball was my dream career, A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. My injury did not stop me from playing basketball, since I could not use my legs I was still going to the gym to work on my hand skills with the ball.

Coming back as a junior, I recovered from my ankle injury and the doctor said that my ankle was good enough to play basketball again. I showed the notes to coach Hare and she welcomed me back to the team. I told myself not to venture off my current path, but keep practicing, because I was going to get better. That motivated me to obtain the knowledge I needed and gave me momentum to keep practicing and working harder every time I was the gym. It was bizarre because, I started to see improvement in my game and started to believe that I could do it. I was not weak as they use to describe me on the second day of the tryout. I just needed a lot of hard working in practice.

I took my previous failure and used it in everything I did. I believe that success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. I knew I could overcome anything. I had to go through a lot in my experience. First, I had to get over my fear and approach the tryouts. Then I had to go out onto the court and show my skills for a whole week. Even though I was looking a little worn, I still had to show up to check if my name was on the team list.

My success was due to good luck, and support and advice from friends and mentors. But most importantly, it depended on me to keep trying after I had failed and my hard working. My hard work paid me with benefits.

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TIB Leosi

I am Leosi Kaloso from the Fort Worth Area. I am an international student from central Africa. My country’s name is the Democratic Republic of Congo, I have made a choice to come to America to study biology and to move on deep with it into med school, i am also interested in meeting new people and developing a relationship that will last for ever. Mostly i am interested in helping people with disabilities.  Vision disabilities are the one I like to get people out of. Vision is the most important sense in the human body, and i like to take care of it. we can’t make change if we can’t see the change and we can’t be the change we hope to see in the world. Going  to Med school i will study ophthalmology so i will be able to accomplish my goal of helping people with any type of vision problem.