This I Believe is an international organization engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives. The project is based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow. For our first project of the semester, each Making Waves youth reporter wrote and recorded a This I Believe essay.


Black and White are Colors, Not Personality Types
Catherine Hoffman

I believe that black people should be treated as the individuals that we are. We should not be grouped together as if we are the same because people think that we look the same. Black people should never be told that they aren’t black. Black and white are colors, not personality types.


Can I Wear a Costume There?
Kassidy Arena

When I was younger, I liked to think of life as a costume party. I would pretend I could understand what the teachers and other kids talked about.  I knew my friends didn’t need to look at my lips to understand what I said, but I knew I depended on it. 


I Believe in Santa Claus
Elena Cruz

“Elena, do you still believe in Santa Claus?” The doors were locked of course. I had no escape but through the truth. Oh, how I was sad to admit that no, I did not believe in this man. My twelve-year-old body slouched in my seat. The rite of passage was happening.


Do You Believe in Love?
Sam Mosher 

What I learned from this experience is that I believe in love in all forms. To make it even simpler, I believe in the right for people to be happy. My aunt’s relationship and future marriage cemented in my mind that I am a supporter of LGBTQ rights. This experience helped me open up the world of my friends as well, many of whom knew my aunt, but didn’t know any other gay people.


I Believe in Long Drives
Bailey Ferree

I believe in the kind of drives where you don’t even bother passing the car in front of you because you couldn’t imagine anything better than just taking in the sights of the heartland. The kind where suddenly you are in no hurry to get where you are going so you slow down because you know it will take a while to get to your destination anyway.


I Believe in Cats
Sylvia Maehr

Maybe it’s her cuddly disposition. Maybe it’s her lulling purr. Maybe it’s the rhythmic movement that she makes with her paws. Be it her seemingly ingrained GPS device or her body itself, I believe the healing power cats possess is magical.


I Believe in Answering Anger with Understanding
Maryam Blesdoe

I often think of myself as immune to that kind of campaigning - that I follow and support the people I do because I am more morally or intellectually “right”. But the fact remains that all voters have a backstory, they have a reason for supporting what they do. By dismissing their opinions as simply a result of some supposed lack of education, I am robbing them of their identity as reasoning humans. I am robbing them of the experiences that contribute to their decisions. 


I Believe That We Are Trees
Sarah Bai

I believe we are all trees. I believe that we have the choice to grow every which way and we can become something so free and untamed like the weeping willow or we can discipline ourselves and hope to become something like the mighty oak on MacBaine.  I don’t know about you, but I’m rooting for the Big Tree.


I Believe in Imperfection
Lisa Zhuang

Perhaps my tree did not start off growing ‘zhi’ and still is not ‘zhi,’ and might never be ‘zhi,’ but that is alright, because I feel comfortable the way I am. I am not a ‘zhi’ tree, and I wouldn’t be me otherwise. We all branch out uniquely and imperfectly, and that is what gives each of us our individual stories, our individual beliefs, our individual knowledge we bring to the world. 


Sarah and Lisa Two-Way
Sarah Bai and Lisa Zhuang

When Lisa and Sarah sat down to peer edit each other's This I Believe essays, they got a surprise. They had both written essays about a metaphor their moms used to say when they were growing up. And while Lisa and Sarah's families aren't connected in any way, it happened to be the same metaphor. In this two-way, Sarah and Lisa talk about the metaphor that shaped them growing up, and how they interpret it now. 


I Believe My Race Does Not Define My Identity
Mariah Doze | Fall 2015

"Being brown is meaningful to me, but I want people to know that it is not all there is to me. Come. Spend time with me. Talk for a while. Then you will see that I am not black or brown, I am Mariah. I am complex. I believe that we should be defined by what is on the inside, while never be forced to neglect what we reflect on the outside." 


I Believe in the Power of Words
Jenna Liu | Fall 2015

"I continue to believe in the power of words to make us feel so deeply and be closer to our own humanity. I can’t force others to enjoy this same power, but I can suggest that some time soon, they crack open a book and take a chance on the beauty of a story."


I Believe in the Clearance Section
Zoya Khan | Fall 2015

"In a society where the focus lies too often on whose car is faster or whose house is bigger, I believe that it is not these things that shape me. Instead, I am a product of my upbringing. My worth is measured through my experiences and how I help others, rather than by what I wear." 


I Believe It's OK to Take a Nap
Madison Wright | Fall 2015

"Here’s what I learned that day: Getting your homework done is not the most important thing. Going to every single meeting is not the most important thing. Getting a 4.0 is not the most important thing. Your health is. Achieving a state qualifying time or getting a five on the AP test is not worth wrecking your body and depriving it of rest."