I Believe in the Unity of the Heart and Mind, by Shriya Sachdeva

One of the greatest things I struggled with last year was deciding what major I wanted when applying for college. I was aware that people change their major all the time, but I still wanted to have some sort of goal to ground myself on. I think the bigger question I had was: What do I want to do with my life?

Almost every individual has their eyes set on a dream career, and I began panicking as I couldn’t figure out which of my passions I wanted to pursue, or if there was something else altogether. My life can be summed up in four words: singing, reading, writing, and healing. I didn’t yet know which one was something I loved enough to dedicate my life to.

One day, I approached a teacher with my doubts, and the line she said became the motto of my life: “Draw a line from your heart and draw another line from your mind; where these two intersect lies your occupation.”

Her words gave me some thinking to do.

When I broke it down, I realized that while I love writing, I need the correct emotional stance to be able to pour out my feelings into words. For me, this doesn’t happen very often, because my writing can’t be forced. As for singing, I love giving not-so-secret concerts in the shower, but doing it at a professional level just isn’t for me. I don’t want my voice to represent me; I want all of me to be put into doing what I love. That leaves medicine.

At first, I was discouraged about becoming a practitioner because it takes so long and requires so much effort. I came to realize that this hard work is only worth it if there is a love and passion for this field. I feel like I have the intellectual ability that is needed to pursue medical school. I have always found science interesting, especially biology and anatomy/physiology (the health sciences). I do find it difficult, but the thrill of understanding how a body works is ineffable. I also care a lot about others and want to serve people. I feel happy when I help others heal. Isn’t that incentive enough?

As I have said before, I believe in love: love for life, love for a career, and love for other people, too. I believe that love is what holds this entire world together, and this is why I want to be a physician: to love humanity, and to heal.

While a career isn’t everything, it is a major part of life, and through the quest of finding myself, I have understood the nuances of loving life. I have found meaning in the aphorism “Follow your heart, but take your mind with you”, because in life, the act of thinking and using one’s common sense is the antidote to the blind spots of a heart still learning to love.

This I believe with all my heart- and mind.


This essay was written for Dr. Elizabeth Flowers’ World Religions in America course.  You can read more about the TCU Religion Department here

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.



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 the Power of Words, by Rev. Erin Taylor

I believe in the power of words. Words have an incredible way of linking us to one another – whether we are strangers, old friends, or lost loved ones.

On January 25th, 2015, I lost my baby cousin, Philip, in a motorcycle accident while stationed as a Marine at Camp LeJeune. Losing someone I was so close to and who was so young broke my heart in ways I didn’t know were possible. Though Philip was 4 years younger than me, my cousin was one of my closest friends and always made his best effort to help me using his carefree wisdom. Shortly after losing him, I had his favorite saying tattooed on my right foot.

I cannot count the number of times a day that I look down at my foot and see, in his handwriting, “Never give up.”

When I see his words, I first think, “Man! I’m glad I always helped him with his spelling homework!” but shortly after, I think of him saying those three simple words and readily bestowing his carefree wisdom upon me.

When I see his words, I am reminded to always strive to do better, to always seek hope when I feel defeated, and to push through whatever obstacles and challenges I may encounter.

Words have an incredible way of linking us to one another. Words allow us to capture those irreplaceable moments, to keep our memories alive, and remind us to never, ever give up.

I believe in the beautiful power of words.


GA TIB BOOK Erin TaylorRev. Penelope Erin Taylor is from Lake Charles, LA and is a recent graduate of Brite Divinity School & TCU’s dual M. Div/MSW program. She is a proud Peace Intern alum, is freshly ordained through the Great River Region, and currently serves as the youth minister at FCC Gainesville, TX. In her spare time, she enjoys devoting a ridiculous amount of time to her cocker spaniel, Barney, and drinking a LOT of Diet Coke.

I Believe in Handwritten Letters, by Rachel Rebagay

Dear Friend,

I know that we live in a world with technology like cell phones, texts, and Skype that allow us to keep in touch almost as quickly as if we were in the same room. I know that if I text you, you’ll reply in a few hours at the most and in a few seconds at best. And I know the power of fast communication. But I also know the power of handwritten letters.

When I met you at summer camp five years ago, I knew I had found a kindred spirit, and I wasn’t going to let that find go to waste. But I also knew that you wouldn’t be just an ordinary friend to me. And extraordinary friends call for extraordinary methods of communication. Maybe even something extra-ordinary like pen and paper.

Being the introvert I am, I found it easier to pour my thoughts and soul into words on a page, envisioning you reading it with a smile on your face. Writing letters made me feel like I would really be listened to. That every word I wrote was important and would somehow be documented for eternity. Writing to you made me think through my own beliefs and problems. And then there were your responses.

Your life filled the pages of those long awaited letters. No matter how much time passed between responses, they brought me infinite amounts of joy and still do. Your personality shone through your wording and handwriting. Just the fact that you took the time to sit down and write was incredible. And not just write, but write to me. And it meant the world.

Thanks to you, my love of writing letters has grown. I can’t tell you the countless people that I’ve been able to touch with my words of gratitude, my words of truth, and my words of comfort. The reactions that I’ve received from other friends whom I write to have been so sweet. Some people feel the need to write me back. Some tell me that it’s the most thoughtful thing that they’ve ever received. I even had a friend hang my letter on the wall next to his high school diploma. Words have power, and that has never been clearer than it is now. Nothing brings me more joy than to bring joy to others, and writing letters is just one of the many ways I can do that.

When we first started writing letters, it was to encourage each other in our faith journeys. Since then, I have adopted some of my favorite words ever written in a letter:

“I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”- 2 John 13

Until then, I will continue to cherish our friendship using the best tool I know how…letter writing.

All the very best,



GA TIB Book Rachel RebagayRachel Rebagay is a recent graduate from Texas Christian University. Although she majored in Mechanical Engineering, she was heavily involved in the Religious and Spiritual Life at TCU. During her time at TCU, Rachel served on the Leadership Team of Disciples on Campus as well as helped to create the TCU Worship Team, which brings worship events and prayer opportunities to campus. This fall, she will be pursuing her Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

I Believe in Encouragment

Author: Ashley Tilley, TCU Student, Fall 2014

Isaac Newton once said “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” This quote reminds me that, encouragement I have received from countless others has given me the ability to see much further than I would have ever thought possible. I truly believe that no one who is successful got to where they are now alone. It was through the encouragement of someone else that they were able to realize their potential.

I believe in encouraging those in need of reaching their true potential. Without the encouragement of my sister, teachers, and mentors I probably would not have as many accomplishments as I do today. I believe words of encouragement carry power because they cause the person on the receiving end to realize what they are truly capable of.

I would not be at TCU today if I had not received the encouragement to apply from my mentor in high school. My senior year was very stressful. I had no clue what school I wanted to go to but I knew it would not be TCU. I went to Poly which is about fifteen minutes from TCU and every year we took trips to visit. The trips made me feel happy and welcome and I really enjoyed them. However when I reflected over all of the visits to the school I did not like the feeling I got. I started to feel insecure, and I questioned my decision to apply. I thought I would never get in because I was not smart enough. I thought that even if I did get accepted I surely would not get a scholarship. Obviously I was wrong, and my mentor helped me to realize this. When I told her the reasons for me not wanting to even try she said “You might as well try the worst thing that could happen is you don’t try and then you will never know whether it was possible.” She really helped me to realize that the way I was thinking was just an excuse not to try. I am very grateful to have had her to encourage me to apply.

I know how powerful encouragement can be. One day I hope I am able to encourage others to do things they never thought were possible. Also I will make sure to encourage those around me to go for the things they believe in because doubt should never be a factor in any person’s decisions.

I believe in thought and the quest for truth

Author: Jenelle Salisbury, TCU Student, Neuroscience major, Published fall 2012

When I was stopped at the “This I Believe” tent at TCU, they said all I had to do to win a prize was to write down one thing that I believe on a note card. Sounds easy, right? Not for me. I wanted to write something that I truly, actually believed without a doubt. However, for me, doubt seems to be intrinsic. I considered just writing something cliché to get the prize, but decided against it. Another part of me wanted to just lay the card and the pen back down on the table and say, “I’m sorry. I just don’t believe in anything.” Why couldn’t I think of just one thing that I believed? I believe in skepticism; I believe in questioning everything in one’s external and internal realities on the quest for truth. But does the quest for truth really lead anywhere, or will I always be left not knowing? Epistemologically I have always felt that the one thing I can know for sure is the simple fact that I am conscious, so on my note card I simply wrote “thought.”

This is not to say that I don’t have beliefs in relation to my own life. I believe in love, I believe in family, I believe in honesty. I believe the things I do in this world matter and I love to help people. I have all of these beliefs in the moral and social realm. However, as a philosophical thinker, I am hesitant to say that I believe them 100%, i.e., that I know them. This is because I think that the only things that can truly be believed or known are things that are true in every possible world, not just the one we are in. Why? Because then the beliefs are fully general and thus relatable to every situation, even a situation that I cannot comprehend. Every belief I have is relative to the human brain, and who am I to say that this brain reflects reality? Some people think that skepticism is a sad and ignorant mindset to have, but to me, nothing else makes sense. Moreover, I am not a classic skeptic – I have one strong foundational, Cartesian belief that I feel is enough to live a bountiful life.

If one wanted to fully doubt, he/she could ask the question “How do you know that you are conscious?” and to me, this is a question that simply does not make sense. To illustrate, imagine a possible world in which we are not actually conscious. Instead, we just “invented” the idea of consciousness when in reality it doesn’t exist. However, in order to “invent” or “imagine,” one must in the first place have some form of consciousness. Whether all humans that have ever lived are one collective consciousness, or whether we are indeed in the matrix and this is all in our heads, consciousness in some form must exist because thoughts, although difficult to place one’s finger on, are undeniably real.
Well, okay. So we know we are conscious. What then? Even if we are bacterium in jars cultivated by an alien species we could still possibly have consciousness, so how does the knowledge of this fact benefit us at all?

I also believe one more thing, from which I feel I can derive all the knowledge I will ever need. I believe consciousness is a physical entity or collection of entities in the human brain. This is why I chose to become a neuroscience major. I believe we can know nothing of the true nature of the self or of reality until we know everything about the mechanisms with which we perceive and process it. I believe the human brain is this mechanism and thus the study of which is our portal to truth.

I suppose to most people I sound like a person with no direction, no beliefs, no happiness – nihilistic perhaps. I cannot emphasize enough that this is not what I am or the point I am trying to make. I love the processes of life, and I believe what I do matters. I just think to say that I know anything in any sort of absolute sense is illogical given that I have only experienced the world I am in, and only experienced it through the senses I developed as a human. I love these senses and I love this world, I just hesitate to relate it to any sort of absolute truth. I find comfort in the absolute truth that is consciousness. I am passionate about defining the physical bases of this phenomenon and ready to dedicate my life to it. This is my quest for truth.

I believe in persistence

Author: Ian Hirtz, TCU Student, Strategic Communications Major

I believe in myself. I was diagnosed with the learning disabilities of ADHD and Dyslexia at a young age. It started in third grade when my parents began receiving calls from my teachers about my progress in the classroom.

I fell behind as a result. I had trouble reading and paying attention. I was too young to understand what was happening to me, and I felt stupid compared to the other kids in my class. I was pulled out of school and placed in another school for kids with learning disabilities, “The Joy School.” My new school’s goal was getting me caught up with my peers so that I could attend a normal school again.

I never gave up hope and still believed I could persist through this challenge bestowed upon me. My mother was there to show me ways to deal with my disability — she believed and it helped me believe in myself.

I began developing a daily routine that I followed every day. I would wake up, brush my teeth, have all my daily belongings on my shelf so I wouldn’t forget anything, eat breakfast, grab my backpack next to the front door and off I would go to school. I repeated this every day of my life and still do.

I then started seeing a psychiatrist, who gave me medication to help me focus. I told myself I would never let this stop me from doing anything I want to do in life.

Being diagnosed at a young age has given me a different perspective on life. I never take anything for granted and never will. I have worked hard for all that I have accomplished to this point in my life.

Do not ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Life is full of obstacles and with the right drive, you can overcome anything you want.

You have to believe. I started in a normal school in third grade, transferred to The Joy School for five years, gained acceptance into a Catholic High School and now attend a prestigious university.



I believe in the power of words

Author: Kaci Mayfield, TCU Student, Business Major

Published: November 6th, 2012

I believe in progress and timing. I believe if you have air in your lungs and two working legs you should continually be moving forward in the direction your head and your heart guide you. And if your head and your heart can’t seem to reach an agreement, go with your gut. And if that doesn’t work, call mom; she always knows what to do. I believe that there will be days where the only thing you accomplish is converting oxygen to carbon dioxide and that’s okay too. I believe each day you are given is a second chance to make up for what you couldn’t do the day before; each day also holds a new opportunity of its own. I believe in finding solace in missing your flight or bus or train, because you just may cross paths with a person who will impact your life or take you on an unexpected adventure.

I also believe in pain. I believe that unless you know gut-wrenching, heart stopping, I-can’t-breathe-because-it-hurts agony you will never truly understand moments of overwhelmingly boundless joy and love. I believe in heartbreak. I believe in struggles. I believe there is beauty in even the darkest of moments. I believe that if you can’t let go of it all, it will weigh you down. Most of all, I believe in pain because if you can feel it, you are still alive.

Lastly, I believe in the power of words. I believe that language can lift the spirit to new heights, and that it can also break it. I believe in songs that have lyrics that can disrupt your very soul, give you the chills, make you cry and laugh and change your outlook on life. I believe we should choose our words wisely because once they’ve been released to the universe; there is no taking them back. I believe the written word has the ability to transport the mind somewhere over the rainbow and down the road less taken, past Elysian Fields, Parnassus and the Hundred Acre Wood to Shangri La and back again. I believe that words can change people. I believe if people said what they meant and meant what they said the world would be a much better place. And I believe that if you are able to read these words, you are blessed beyond measure and should be grateful. I believe I am.