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 Bravery, Not Perfection

Jun 6, 2019

I believe in bravery, not perfection.

When I was growing up, I learned how to be brave at the lake in New Hampshire my family visited every summer. I would jump off swings, rocks and boats, soaking myself in the murky water. My siblings would watch in awe. I was the daredevil, the center of attention—and I loved it. At the lake, I possessed a kingdom of my own, and I determined that I would conquer the world.

This I Believe: I Believe In Storytelling

May 23, 2019

I believe in storytelling and bringing attention to those who live outside the limelight.

In the summer of 2017, I collaborated with my great-aunt and godmother, Marie-Edith Douillard, who has lived in Paris for 40 years and works for a human rights organization called Amnesty International. She introduced me to two refugees and helped me create a short documentary that has since been successful at various international film festivals.

This I Believe: I Believe In Board Games

May 9, 2019

 

I believe in board games.

As a kid, I started with the basics like chess, Othello and Monopoly. As I got a little older, games like Stratego, Risk and Mastermind were added to my collection.

This I Believe: I Believe We Must Remember The Armenian Genocide

Apr 25, 2019

This essay originally aired on April 26, 2018.

I believe we must remember the past so it doesn’t repeat itself.

I believe in talking about important political issues in school.

School shapes children’s lives in a major way. School teaches children about the world around them, about how things work. So what better place to teach kids about politics than school?

This I Believe: I Believe In A Good Cup Of Coffee

Mar 29, 2019

This essay originally aired on Oct. 25, 2018.

I believe in a good cup of coffee.

I was about five years old when I brewed my first pot of coffee. I remember reaching for the red plastic container labeled Folgers, lifting the lid and appreciating its rich aroma.

I carefully counted the spoonfuls of Folgers, while my brother, who’s just a year older, measured the water. The counter the coffee pot sat on was barely reachable, but we made it work.

This I Believe: I Believe We All Have A Story

Mar 14, 2019
Essayist Molly Smith.
Molly Smith

I believe we all have a story.

I grew up in a small town about 30 miles outside of Harrisburg. When I say small town, I mean we only had one high school with about 60 kids in each graduating class. We had one red light, one Sheetz, one grocery store and a few banks.

This I Believe: I Believe In Traveling Alone

Feb 28, 2019
Essayist Shawna Mumma in Italy.
Shawna Mumma

I believe in traveling alone at least once in your life.

I’ll always remember how I felt the morning of December 27, 2014. There were butterflies of excitement in my stomach as I found a window seat near the back of the German train car. I settled in and double-checked that my written itinerary was still in my pocket. The train began to leave the station. Once the pure rush of adrenaline wore off, a feeling of complete shock hit me.

What in the world was I doing? 

Was I prepared to travel through Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and England on my own for two weeks?

This I Believe: I Believe In Forgiveness

Feb 14, 2019

My dream had always been to play basketball in college. But during my junior year of high school, I got a severe concussion. In the months that followed, I went through concussion therapy, different drugs and steroids, and seven different doctors. By August 21, 2015, I was progressing well in therapy—so well that I was going to be cleared that day. I was in the car with my sister on my way to my very last appointment. I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to play basketball again for my senior season, and then in college.

This I Believe: I Believe In Myself

Jan 31, 2019
Essayist Alexis Fenstermacher.
Alexis Fenstermacher

I believe in myself.

When I was a sophomore in college, I realized I wanted to be a nurse in the military. I had just gotten back from a medical clinic in Honduras and felt inspired—I wanted to travel and help others while doing it. I knew nothing about the military, but when I Googled “traveling nursing jobs,” the first thing that came up was the Air Force.

This I Believe: I Believe In Lemonade

Jan 17, 2019

“Take one pint of water. Add a half-pound of sugar, the juice of 8 lemons and the zest of half of a lemon. Pour the water from one jug into the other several times. Strain through a clean napkin.”

I believe in the power of lemonade.

To most, the drink brings back childhood memories of hot summer days, family cookouts and catching a breeze outside.

But don’t get it twisted. The lemonade that has been quenching my thirst as a Black woman in the U.S. today is what’s being served up by the Queen herself, Mrs. Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter.

This I Believe: I Believe In Fat

Jan 3, 2019
Natalie Sullivan
Emily Reddy / WPSU

This essay originally aired on Feb. 2, 2017.  

I believe in fat. Not too long ago, I would have said, “I believe I’m fat.” But my mindset has shifted, because I’m in the midst of recovery. This is me speaking, not my eating disorder convincing me that my body is a worthless, loathsome shell.

This I Believe: I Believe In Sharing Food

Dec 20, 2018
Samantha Bastress
Emily Reddy / WPSU

This essay originally aired on Aug. 3, 2017.  

I believe in sharing food.

Growing up in Penns Valley, I became accustomed to a community that shared the fruits of its labor. Fresh produce was abundant due to the many farmers in the area, and neighbors shared recipes and baked dishes for friends in need.

This I Believe: I Believe In Music

Dec 6, 2018
Essayist Audrey Shu.
Audrey Shu

 

I believe in music. Sweet melodies make me feel radiant and free.

I play the piano. As I’ve learned to play, my mom has been with me every step of the way. I remember her sitting next to 6-year-old me, sharing the same bench, the same music, as I progressed from playing single notes to mini-recitals.

My mom is a passionate classical music lover. Music takes both of us to another world.

In Mozart’s “Horn Sonata,” Mom and I are attending an extravagant royal ball.

This essay originally aired on Feb. 15, 2018.

When I was little, my mom warned me time and again that if I became nearsighted, I’d only have my bad habit of reading under my comforter with a tiny flashlight to blame. I didn’t listen because in “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” there was no worrying about eye care. There was just traveling across the ocean through the eyes of an explorer and feeling page-long names of sea creatures swim past my fingertips. A whole bunch of things in that book were made up, but I loved it.

This I Believe: I Believe In Waking Up

Nov 8, 2018

There are many things that define my life: my love of swimming and theatre, my desire to be with my friends at all times, my inclination to stay up late to finish a good book. My late nights, paired with early-morning workout sessions, mean I drink a lot of coffee, because I believe in waking up.

This I Believe: I Believe In Teaching

Oct 11, 2018
Nabil K. Mark/SCASD

This essay originally aired on January 4, 2018.  

I believe teaching is the best profession in the whole world. I am myself a high school German teacher and have been so for more than twenty years. 

This essay originally aired on December 21, 2017.  

My paternal grandmother, Helen, was a frugal and reserved woman with dyed-red curly hair. She always wore a 1960s-style house coat, even into the 1990s. We visited occasionally and I played with a few antique toys in the sunroom while the grown-ups talked in the den.

Helen enjoyed drinking tea and, I’m told, favored a weak brew. When I began drinking tea in the fourth grade, my parents compared the sweet, weak liquid I sipped to Helen’s. She passed away that spring, almost a year after her husband.

This I Believe: I Believe In Libraries

Sep 13, 2018

I believe in libraries.

I was born in Colombia, a country where books were luxury items, public libraries were few and bookworms were considered arrogant. I grew up being shuffled from aunt to aunt and town to town while my mother was in the U.S., working to support us from a distance.

This I Believe: I Believe In Talking To Strangers

Aug 30, 2018

This essay originally aired on December 7, 2017.   

On a crisp day in October, I was on my daily walk through the Arboretum at Penn State. I had discovered my passion for photography there, and I was on a mission to photograph the roving gangs of chipmunks devouring the decorative pumpkins and gourds the Arboretum puts out at this time of year.

Suddenly, a stranger approached me. And immediately I thought, “Ugh. Go away. What do you want?” I thought about pulling out my cell phone to act busy. A gut, automatic reaction. 

This I Believe: I Believe In Old Photographs

Aug 16, 2018

This essay originally aired on April 12, 2018.  

This I Believe: I Believe In Golf

Aug 2, 2018
Essayist Tyler Olson
Min Xian / WPSU

Everyone has a hobby — a thing they do for fun to get away from work and the general grind of everyday life. For me, it’s golf. 

There’s something about the feeling of a well-struck 8-iron, about the sound of a ball rattling in the bottom of the cup, about the curve of a good tee-shot through the air, that makes everything else just go away. 

But golf is more than just a sport to me. 

This I Believe: I Believe In Space Exploration

Jul 19, 2018
Essayist Sarah Khalida in front of the Atlas V rocket.
Sarah Khalida

I believe in space exploration.

This I Believe: I Believe In Mindful Attentiveness

Jul 5, 2018

This essay originally aired on Feb. 1, 2018.  

I believe in the small joy of washing with carrot-ginger soap.

I believe in baking five-grain rye bread with cracked rye berries, naturally leavened with sourdough and baked on a hot stone. Taking baths in the dark with candlelight. Canning dill green beans and pickling beets.

I believe in picnicking by wooded streams while waiting for my wife and friends to finish hiking, which I don’t believe in.

This I Believe: I Believe In Handcrafting

Jun 7, 2018

I believe in making things by hand.

I’m a glassblower. I trained as a scientific glassblower, and I made laboratory glassware for 30 years. Now I make decorative ornaments using the same material and skill set. The act of turning raw materials into a final product, whether for scientific research or decorative whimsy, is something I find personally rewarding. It’s uplifting to say, “I made that.”

 

I believe in the need for moderate activism to create a safer America.

I believe in dancing like nobody’s watching.

I began performing when I was three or four years old. My dance season began in late August and finished mid-June, and I went to ballet camps in the summer. This cycle continued for most of my childhood, and only intensified when I started high school.

I believe in owning a terrible first car.

Growing up, I was someone who eagerly awaited my sixteenth birthday, counting down the days until I could finally drive. I craved the freedom that came with a license, not having to rely on my parents to pick me up from practice or drive me to work. Like many of my friends, though, the first car I drove was old and beat up.

This I Believe: I Believe In Calling My Parents

Mar 15, 2018

Normally, I have a lot of anxiety about talking on the phone. I get scared that I won’t be able to hear the person on the other end, or that I won’t know the answer to their questions. I try to avoid phone calls at all costs. But my parents are one of the few exceptions. I believe in calling my parents every day, especially while I’m away from home. 

This I Believe: I Believe In Simplicity

Mar 1, 2018

I believe in simplicity. I believe in the magic of sharing homemade peanut butter sandwich crackers in the back of the afternoon school bus. I believe in tattered baseball caps worn in with sun spots. I believe in seeing the yellow flowers people call weeds for the beauty they are.

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