This I Believe Essays

Narrative writing is a popular place to begin in English 101 classes. Because of the popularity of social media, students have become experts at sharing information about themselves. However, quality in-depth narrative writing is not often found in 140 characters. Introducing the “This I Believe” essay, an essay that allows students to truly examine their life experiences and share, through formal, narrative writing, how those experiences have led to a personal belief. The prompt is inspired by This I Believe (, “an international organization engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives.” Stories may be funny, gut-wrenching, or heart-warming, but what’s most important is that they’re real.

This I Believe

By Kennedy Stanfield

I believe we, as Americans, should have the right to choose when we want to leave this world. I believe if our judicial system can determine the life or death of an accused offender, we should in turn, be granted the power to decide our own fate. I believe life is a beautiful journey and each of our experiences and legacies serve as milestones for the next generations to come. I believe in living life as long as you are happy and content with yourself. I believe in the use of euthanasia as an alternative treatment for terminally ill patients.

Over the course of my life it has appeared to me how uncomfortable most individuals are when it comes to the topic of death. People are even more uncomfortable when talking about suicide. It seems like it’s been ingrained in my mind to believe suicide is not only wrong and a sin, but also illegal in most states. I’ve been coerced into believing only depressed and deranged people would follow through or even think about such a horrendous action. I believe even if euthanasia was legalized in all fifty states, it would continue to be controversial, due to the views society has placed around the topic of suicide.

I believe, to a certain extent, we shouldn’t allow society’s norms or even specific beliefs, religious or not, to scare us from what we truly want in life. Everything is controversial and everything can be argued. If you live your life according to someone else’s standards, rules, and regulations, will you truly be happy? If someone believes assisted suicide will make their last days happier, they should not have the fear of judgment from others or a higher power. They should not have to fear imprisonment or being banished to hell in the afterlife.

Recently, there have been too many people I care about that have had to suffer through illnesses that only have one outcome: death. It is unbearable to have to watch as somebody you love deteriorates from the inside out and there is nothing that can be done about it. In October of 2010, my aunt, Gina A. Stanfield, passed away as a result of Breast cancer. During her battle with cancer, she lost over 100 pounds. Her health continued to deplete, despite the chemotherapy, mastectomy, and numerous prescription drugs that were supposed to save her. Eventually, there was nothing that could be done other than to sit back and wait as life ran its course.

It is unfair the way society has attached these numerous, negative thoughts and judgments to the act of committing suicide, when it has the potential to make someone’s last days easier and painless. I believe euthanasia is no different than signing the “do not resuscitate” paperwork before a delicate procedure or “pulling the plug” from someone on life support. If there is nothing that can be done to prolong the life of the ill, they should have the right to choose what action they would like to take. To put things into perspective, my aunt may not have wanted to suffer as the years went by knowing what the outcome would be. She may have wanted to go out on her own terms and not as a result of a terrible, life threatening disease; however, she was not given that choice to make.

I believe the prohibition of euthanasia throughout most of the United States is unfair to some Americans. Everyone deserves the right to make their own life decisions. If one cannot finance these palliative care services, they are left with an ultimatum. Either they have to live in pain, unhappy for the remainder of their life or fall into debt that may accumulate fees until the expenses have been paid off. Euthanasia serves as an alternative for those who may not be able to finance the medical services they need. Euthanasia should be legalized in the United States as an alternative medicine for terminally ill patients. Euthanasia has the potential to make someone’s last days more comfortable, which is the main point of palliative care. Not only can it benefit their physical needs, but it can save the patient and their family so much money, leaving fewer Americans in debt. If my aunt were to be given the choice of euthanasia, I wonder if the outcome would have been easier on not only my aunt, but those like myself that had to watch as she suffered.

There’s Always a Reason

By Anonymous (student contributor asked to remain anonymous)

Not all teenagers like to believe that their parents are right in everything they say, or tell them what to do. In most circumstances, parents are correct and have every argument to prove they’re right. As a high school student in my senior year, I was rebellious, and out of control; I believed I was unstoppable. I thought my life was going great and could not get better, until my life took a turn for the worse and I was hospitalized with a stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease. I believe that things happen for a reason, not always in good ways, and that parents are wise and have a reason for telling you the things they do.

It was the third week of my senior year, and it was going great. I had the best friends that anyone can have; I was popular, going out partying with my friends. I thought, “This is exactly what I believed senior year would be like”. It was Friday August 30, the day of senior pictures, I got up like a regular school day and got ready to start my day. This day I didn’t feel like myself though. I had some odd bloating that I didn’t think anything of and my feet had some edema. My first thoughts were, “Could I be pregnant?”, “If I am, how do I tell my parents?”. I kept my thoughts to myself and continued with my day and headed off to school.

My school day continued to go as usual, and it was finally my turn to take my senior pictures. I smiled big and proud because I had made it this far, until I got a sharp pain in my lower abdomen that I could not control. I got up and brushed it off thinking it would just go away on its own. Two hours passed and the pain seemed to worsen, and every time I’d take a breath it would get more intense. I did not know what was going on with me and kept moving on with my day.

Once my school day ended I went straight home with severe pain and tried to lie down. I lay on my bed for about two hours not being able to sleep and noticed the swelling in my feet got worse. I went into the restroom to weigh myself and noticed in a matter of twelve hours I had gained 22 pounds. I still kept all my symptoms to myself throughout the rest of the evening and dinner.

About two o’clock Saturday morning, I was in complete fetal position and I could not stand the pain in my lower abdomen. I yelled for my mom and was rushed to the emergency room. I had routine labs and tests done to rule out some key diagnosis, but what was odd I had close to 500mg of protein spilling out of my body and my kidneys were failing. This was not normal; my body was taking the protein from my blood trying to replace what was being lost. I was then transported to a Phoenix area hospital after seven hours of tests, and rushed in to have an emergency kidney biopsy done.

As two weeks went by being hospitalized, I finally got what I had been waiting for: my results were in. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Nephrotic Syndrome with Minimal Change Glomerulonephritis with Stage 5 kidney failure being the worst possible. This was caused by my kidneys not being able to handle my habit of drinking every Friday and Saturday going out and being careless about what the outcome could be. My parents constantly told me it wasn’t the right thing to do and that I had a problem that needed attention, or that I’d realize it when there was no turning back. This was my eye opening moment that led me to believe things happen for the better, not always in ways we want but that my parents were wise and had every reason for what they were telling me.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);