WPSU's This I Believe

Biweekly at 5:45 p.m. on Thursdays and at 9:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Tell us the personal philosophy and core values that guide your daily life, and hear stories from others.

This I Believe is based on the 1950s radio program of the same name and the media project (launched in 2005) from This I Believe, Inc. and Atlantic Public Media. WPSU-FM invites you, as a central Pennsylvania resident, whatever your background, to speak out.

Submit your essay.

Subscribe to WPSU's This I Believe podcast.

This I Believe: I Believe In Working With My Hands

May 11, 2017

Like many children, I had a set of blocks and a tree house to play with when I was little. Mine were special, though - my grandfather built them. Dazzled by his ability to work with his hands and obsessed with firefighters, I asked him to build me a working fire truck. Although the finished product did not quite match my dream, it was a mechanical marvel and a testament to my grandfather’s skill. It was made almost entirely of wood, including the steering wheel, axles, and ladder.

This I Believe: I Believe In Asking For Help

Apr 27, 2017
Lauren DeLancey
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I believe in asking for help. 

When I was younger, silence and solitude were my two favorite things, but they were also my worst enemies.

This I Believe: I Believe In Birding

Apr 13, 2017
Susan Smith with binoculars
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I believe in birding.

I am a fledgling birder. I joined an early morning group that meets on the boardwalk at Millbrook Marsh. Those undulating flashes of light are goldfinches. The barn swallow likes to perch on the wire, showing off his orange and blue colors. Look, there, along the creek bank, is a pair of wood ducks: see the drooping green crest of the male. The two are glorious in their bright geometric plumage.

This I Believe: I Believe In Happy Goodbyes

Mar 30, 2017
Kay Allan
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Can you remember the last conversation you had with your mom, your sibling, or your best friend? Did you say goodbye? Did you say “I love you”?

This I Believe: I Believe In Welcoming Spring

Mar 16, 2017
Sue Shaffner in a white dress holding a globe and daffodils.
Sue Shaffner

I believe in welcoming spring.
I start early.
Hey, I know the calendar says that spring begins March 21st,
but at our house,
returning bluebirds are often the first sign of spring,
and they usually arrive the last week of February.
I greet them:
“I’m glad you’re back!
But WHAT are you THINKing?
Don’t you see all the SNOW?”

This I Believe: I Believe In Oversized Jackets

Mar 2, 2017
Essayist Vera Mendum-Purdy
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I believe in oversized jackets. Not the kind that you get for your birthday from the distant aunt you met once. But the jackets you steal from your dad, brother, maybe even your best friend. The feeling of wearing something a person you care about wore is comforting. It’s like a shield you carry everywhere you go.

 Biyun Song and her grandma on a snowy mountain
Biyun Song

My grandma is 60 years older than me. But that doesn’t stop us from traveling together.

Our footprints cover many regions of the world -- from Sichuan, China to Taiwan, from Thailand to South Korea, from France to Italy. We have been traveling together for more than 15 years.

This I Believe: I Believe In Coffee

Dec 8, 2016
Essayist Becca DeGregorio
Min Xian / WPSU

This essay originally aired on September 7, 2016.

I Believe in Redwoods

Nov 24, 2016
Essayist Mark Ballora
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

This essay originally aired on October 15, 2015. 

I grew up in Mill Valley, California which is a funky town surrounded by beautiful redwood trees. Now, I live in State College with my wife and son. The two towns are separated by almost an entire country, and have different histories. What could they possibly have in common? There’s one thing in particular that makes them both dear to me.

I Believe In Sports

Nov 11, 2016

I believe in sports. I’ve been playing sports as long as I can remember. My earliest memories are of my two older brothers and I going outside to shoot hoops or to throw a football around. It wasn’t just for fun – we were also desperately trying to escape the screech of my parents’ bickering. For hours, we would play and laugh.

I Believe In Keeping The Past Alive

Oct 27, 2016
Essayist Elizabeth Bare.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

I believe in keeping the past alive. Just take a step into my 1880’s house and you will find yourself surrounded by an array of mid-20th century furniture, paired with eclectic decor from a variety of centuries. Many of them are from my grandmothers, who sadly passed away recently. When these articles first arrived at my house, it was very disorienting. These things did not belong here-- they belonged in my grandmothers’ homes. But as time passed, these objects became a part of our daily routine.

I Believe In Saying No

Sep 29, 2016

  This essay originally aired on October 29, 2015.

I believe in saying no.

But I am mulishly stubborn. I never back down. When you pair that with my Type A personality and overachieving nature, I am downright terrifying when I put my mind to something.

I was raised to believe that quitting is never an option. Saying no to an opportunity or a challenge was never an option. So what changed?

This I Believe: I Believe In Lake Wobegon

Aug 18, 2016

I believe in Lake Wobegon. I know, it's just a fictional place created by Garrison Keillor for his radio show “A Prairie Home Companion.” Yet it became much more. I believe we all owe Garrison Keillor a debt of gratitude for helping to preserve the American Dream.

This I Believe: I Believe In Asking Questions

Jul 25, 2016
Talia Cowen.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I have this friend who gets to know people by interrogating them. It’s as intense as it sounds. She starts with the basics: “Where did you grow up?” “What’s your favorite movie?” “What’s your favorite color?” But it quickly gets more and more obscure. “What was the first concert you ever went to?” and “What’s your favorite kind of bread?”

And so on. She is relentless.

I’ve seen it happen several times, each time wilting in shame and embarrassment by proxy. I anticipate how weird the interrogatee must think she is, and how bizarre I must seem by association.

I believe there is magic in in creating things with your own two hands.

Many of my earliest memories are of fashioning together Popsicle sticks, construction paper, yarn and anything else I could get my hands on. I would sit at my family’s kitchen table, lost for hours in the planning, purpose and possibility of making. In those moments, amid the buttons, cardboard and Elmer’s Glue, I felt free, capable and full of potential. I learned that there is visceral satisfaction and joy in creating beautiful, useful objects.

This I Believe: I Believe In Perfect Moments

May 26, 2016
Essayist Vicka Pevzner
Vicka Pevzner

I believe in perfect moments.  They don’t have to be big, forever memories like kids’ graduation or seeing Paris for the first time.  They can occur on an otherwise regular day or a regular night when one might think that nothing had happened at all.

This I Believe: I Believe In Hard Work

Apr 28, 2016
Essayist Kayla Fish
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

What does five o’clock in the morning look like to you? Does it look like the back of your eyelids as you lie asleep, warm in your bed? For me, it looks like a dark and quiet walk to work.

I believe in the value of hard work.

I’ll always remember the days leading up to my 14th birthday, which, my parents constantly reminded me, was when I could work for the first time. I started a job the next week at the ski resort down the road from my house.

This I Believe: I Believe In The Companionship Of Dogs

Apr 14, 2016
Essayist Jessie Setlock
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

When I was 8 years old, I remember the day I met my best friend. He was an adorable, fluffy black and white puppy with tiny brown dots for eyebrows. He sprinted down the hallway to meet me for the first time, like he knew how close we would become. In just days, this Border Collie we named Reilly became my constant companion.

I spent much of my free time that summer teaching Reilly commands like “sit,” “paw,” “down,” “stay,” and “come!” He picked up on them in no time and was the most well behaved pup that we had ever seen.

I Believe in the Law of Attraction

Apr 7, 2016

  This essay originally aired on May 28, 2015.

I believe in The Law of Attraction. If you don’t know what that means, it’s basically, “You are what you think and you attract what you think.”

I embraced this philosophy in the spring semester of 2013. At that time, I knew who I wanted to be, but I didn’t know how to become that person. I was stuck in a career rut. Yes, I was only 22. I had my whole life ahead of me to figure everything out. But it felt like time kept moving, but I wasn’t. I felt hopeless.

This I Believe: I Believe In Community

Apr 7, 2016
Essayist Ben Wideman
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

  This essay originally aired on February 4, 2015.

August 28th, 2012 was the most difficult day of my life. That morning at work, I received a call from my wife. She was nearing full term of her pregnancy with our second child. She had recently been to the doctor who gave her a clean bill of health, and we were excitedly preparing to welcome this new child into our home.

I picked up the phone and she wasted no time saying “Come home now. Something's wrong.”

This I Believe: I Believe In Stuffed Animals

Mar 31, 2016
Essayist Rebecca Hile
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

I believe in teddy bears. When I was little, I told my teddy bear everything. But as I got to the 6th grade, I stopped. I thought it was time I gave up on my teddy bear. I never should have.

This I Believe: I Believe in Dylan

Feb 18, 2016
Brooke Zlotshewer and her friend, Dylan.
Brooke Zlotshewer

I met Dylan in gym class during my senior year of high school. I should mention that Dylan is autistic, but his diagnosis truly has no effect on our friendship. The gym class was meant to provide an opportunity for autistic students to interact with their fellow classmates. Originally, I just thought this class would be a good experience and help me gain insight into my autistic classmates’ lives. I never expected I would meet one of my best friends in the class.

I Believe In Staying Active

Jan 14, 2016

Eat better, feel less stressed, become more productive at work, have more patience, and use your credit card less!? All these things and more (have) happened to me….are they the result of having a regular exercise routine as new research I've read claims? I can’t prove it, but I believe it!....and believing something will work is necessary to making a habit stick, this too according to research.

I Believe In The Ocean

Dec 10, 2015
Essayist Tia Pattillo
Tia Pattillo

I believe in the ocean. It has healing powers. The salt, sand, sea and sun all combine to take away every bit of worry in my being. When I look out over the waves and see a boat pass by, my heart smiles. When a seagull lurks behind my beach chair, or when a sand crab crawls up my towel, I know that I’m home.

For me, the ocean is so much more than where my family vacations every year. It’s more than the boardwalk and it’s more than just a place to get a tan. I stand on the water’s edge, close my eyes and picture one of the best days of my life with my dad.

I Believe I Am Responsible For My Own Happiness

Nov 12, 2015
Essayist Lisa Sarick
Lisa Sarick

This is a tough story to tell. My “wasband” (that’s husband, past tense) is an alcoholic. There came a point during our 18 years together when I was sure that he was making me miserable.

Luckily, it was during that time that I found Al-Anon, a group for loved-ones of alcoholics. Then, at a meeting, I heard someone say, “I am responsible for my own happiness.”


I Believe In Grieving

Oct 1, 2015

This essay is apart of a yearlong project on grieving called "Learning to Live: What's Your Story?" 

We all believe many different things over the course of our lives and our beliefs shift; much as the relentless waves alter the contours of the shore, new experiences cause us to grow and adapt.

I Believe in Swimming

Sep 4, 2015
Essayist Bethany Gruskin.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

How did you learn to swim?  Were you like a fish taking to water or, like me, dramatic?  Was it easy or did it take a lot of practice? For me, it did. As you can probably guess, learning to swim was quite a trial.

I Believe in Difficulties

May 14, 2015
Essayist Campbell Meyers
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

"Beep...Beep…Beep”…the rhythmic oscillations of the heart monitor delineate the steady, monotonous cycle of life. The computer screen displays a fragile, red line creating a seismic reading of the surges of life under the skin. This simple line registers the separation of life from death. When I was born, the line crashed from its rhythmic motion to a relentless flat line accompanied by an equally relentless, mechanical squeal.

Moments after I was given life, it was almost stolen away. But I fought. I kept fighting for days and months. I have continued to fight my entire life.

I Believe in not Making Snap Judgments

Apr 30, 2015
Essayist Meredith Manning
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

As I ran to catch the bus one morning, I knew I was in for a weird day. ‘My life cannot get any worse than this right now,’ I thought to myself as I trudged up Fraser St. in my heavy Dr. Marten boots. A normal morning for me usually means waking up at 11, not sprinting to catch the Red Link at 8.

I Believe in Pajamas

Apr 17, 2015
Joshua Riley
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Anywhere I go on Penn State’s campus, I get second glances and sometimes even a few comments from strangers. They say things like:

“Nice pants.”

“Did you just get out of bed?”

“Cool pajamas, dude.”

If you pass by me, I’m the one wearing pajama pants in fuzzy flannel, checkered and plaid or covered with Smurfs. My pajamas might create an odd first impression, but why is being comfortable considered “odd?”