This I Believe: The Power of Personal and Intentional Change

“I believe in the power of intentional and positive change within an individual. Changing myself for the sake of gaining self-confidence, and therefore, being more independent has been very positive for me and has made me a more content person.” I will often say something similar to this, and my old friends along with my family will look at me in something like shock. “Changing yourself,” they may mention, “is giving into society.” I, however, find joy in seeing myself in the mirror and being confident, and in having a personality that I am becoming more and more proud of each day. I changed not for the sake of fitting in or for other people, but because I was unhappy. I yearned for a change in my personality, a change that would allow me to stand strong, a change that would advance and benefit my life to create meaningful relationships, a change that would not hinder me. 


As a child, I was extremely shy, so much so that my relatives thought that I had speaking problems early on. I was not able to even say my name normally in class. When I said “here” during attendance in class, it was a faint whisper, because I did not want to draw much attention to myself. I vividly remember my class presentations: I would stand shakily, with my head down, and with my heart beating out of my chest. My voice would waver like the ocean, and my hands would tremble even when I tried to clench them shut. Why did I not have any control over myself and my body? As I spoke, I felt small, even though I was standing and everyone else was sitting, even though they were looking up at me, even though I was supposed to be leading them. As the presentation went on, I became even smaller. It was like I was becoming smaller to try to fit myself into a cocoon. I could not help but wonder when (or rather if) I would become a butterfly who could spread her wings and soar up in the air, beholden to nothing and no one. This continued throughout elementary, with me constantly wishing I was like one of my very few friends who were outgoing and friendly. They would grin from ear to ear when talking to new people because they were so comfortable and excited. I saw their eyes beam because they were so confident in themselves. When they presented, they would radiate eloquence and grace. If I couldn’t be like them, then why couldn’t I at least be like some of the boys in my class, who would openly embarrass themselves, only it wasn’t an embarrassment to them, because they didn’t care about what others thought. I gave up many opportunities or I did not fully commit myself to activities which I may have enjoyed because of my fear. I had opinions on subjects, and I wanted to share them. I wanted to have an identity where I could define myself properly; if only the words “shy” or “anxious” were not taking up all of the space.



As I grew older, I became less shy, but it was still a defining element in my personality. When I began to mature, I started to feel a kind of conviction and potential confidence. It was lingering inside of me and begging me to let it come out. However, it was trapped in the depths of my being by the weight of all my anxieties. 


This was all until one single day; I was awakened by an epiphany that would change my life forever. It was hard to know what led me to this exact conclusion, but I decided that enough was enough. I would become a more confident person and my personality would be more than just being shy. I would finally become who I wanted to be. By forcing myself to sign up for activities (at first with friends), I met more people and was able to virtually mimic the personality traits of these people. They were sure of themselves, which I greatly admired. They knew who they were, and they knew everything about themselves because they capitalized on the opportunities which led them towards a journey of self-discovery. I had barely passed the starting line of my journey. I only knew one thing about myself, and I wanted to change that very thing so that I could learn more about myself. I looked at what they did and how they were so confident, and I wanted to be like that. So, In the hopes of becoming a more open-minded individual, I began volunteering. I needed to find ways to compel myself to talk to others. My fellow volunteers were a great help in this process because their friendliness and their composure, especially when facing an inconvenience, was simply contagious. I started to take my piano playing more seriously, to the point where I was engrossed by it and found the confidence to share my love for the instrument with others. This distanced me from my usually withdrawn self and brought me closer to becoming a more honest, caring, and respectable individual. I was beginning to escape the walls I had created for myself, which had trapped me from being who I want to be.


Today, I am a happier person who hones my skills and engages in several activities, especially in high school. I am in my school’s Student Union and I frequently volunteer, so I can implement my newly attained leadership skills. Not only that, but I am still fond of music and am not afraid to share my opinions on politics and religion. When I speak now, my voice exudes conviction and I strive for my opinions to be heard. Most importantly, I am now able to stand strong when obstacles come my way. Although I’m not the most outgoing person, I am able to be outspoken and spread positivity towards others. I am the shell of what I once was, and I’m glad of it. If it weren’t for my personal change, I would not have gained the friends I have and built stronger relationships with my community, nor would I have had so many astounding opportunities in school and outside of school. Without these changes, I truly believe that I would’ve been an unsuccessful person who would be withheld by the walls of imaginary suspicions about the world around me. The walls which would act as a safety net from something that I did not need to be safe from. The walls which would act as my guardian angels when they were really just hindrances. I have metamorphosized into the butterfly that I’ve always wanted to be. I have broken out of this cocoon and escaped these walls which confined me. 


These experiences are what led me to believe in the power of personal and intentional transformation of an individual – changing yourself can lead to revelations you would never have found before, and they can make you a more self-assured person.



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8 thoughts on “This I Believe: The Power of Personal and Intentional Change

  1. Dear Riya,

    I just finished reading your post and I absolutely enjoyed it. The line where you would repeat, “A change…” over and over again added to the flow of your writing which I loved. Also, the anecdote you used fit nicely to your belief of the power held within personal and intential change. Your vocabulary is this piece has a lot of variety, which added flair and kept me reading your blog post. There is a lot of personality in your post here and as a result I was easily able to connect and understand how you truly felt.

    In future writings, I belive that you should work on using a more diverse range of sentence starters to keep readers hooked. With that, you also should work on varying your sentence lenghths to add style. Possibly, you could also go moe depth into how you fully uncovered this hidden confidence and got over all of your anxieties.

    Overall, I enjoyed this blog post thoroughly. I can’t wait to see what you have to post next.


    1. Thank you so much for your response Kaydence! It means a lot to me that you liked my post, and were able to recognize some of the stylistic choices I made. I’m happy that you were able to respond to my piece critically and emotionally, which will help me grow and gain confidence as a writer.

      Looking back, I can definitely see where I could’ve used more diverse sentence starters and lengths, because as you mentioned, they would have improved reader engagement and given my sentences more power. I can also understand how my piece would’ve been much clearer and more enthralling if I had expanded more on the part of my anecdote that has to do with gaining confidence.

      Again, thank you so much for the feedback and for enjoying my post! I’m certainly going to use your feedback for future reference in my other blog posts to understand what I’m doing well and what I can improve on.


  2. Dear Riya,

    I would like to begin by mentioning that I am genuinely astonished by your finely polished and beautifully articulated work of art. The way you communicated your anecdote rang a bell in my heart, as it was described with such precision and vigor. Your words and stylistic choices of your adjectives truly brought your anecdote to life in my mind. The transition into your belief was also extremely thought out and deliberate. It was as though I was reading a professionally polished biography when I read your piece. The exuberant content flows so naturally like the flow of water, and your words add colour to the scene. I was on a journey-yes, a journey within your words. The thoughtfulness of your diction makes your piece so extremely impactful and I hope to be able to build my vocabulary and creativity to match your level of descriptiveness one day.

    One improvement that I may suggest would be to involve your belief more in your piece. It felt a little jumpy when I read your last paragraph about your belief as you had not mentioned the words “personal, intentional change.” I would include these words in your anecdotes or further expand your last paragraph to create a smooth transition from your anecdote to your belief. By doing so, I believe that readers will be able to fully understand and address what your belief is.

    I used to have a lot of personal dilemma regarding my English as well. When I was younger, I was prone to bullying by my peers and by my teachers as I found English a true challenge. I am fulfilled with happiness that we both have been able to overcome this common challenge. How wonderful is it that we both are on a journey together to change our challenges into our greatest ally?

    Thank you for a such a beautiful sentiment about your belief. I look forward to working with you in the near future.



    1. Thank you, Dai! The fact that you connected to my piece and that it made an impact on you truly means a lot because I respect you as a writer. I really appreciated your feedback on my writing, as it helped me recognize what I did well and what I need to work on. It’s easy to be your own worst critic, and your comment made me feel more positive about my writing.

      When I read through my piece after reading your comment, I also think that I could’ve done a better job at making my belief more clear and including it more often throughout my anecdote. I can see how the sudden jump from my anecdote to my concluding paragraph, which addresses my belief, may have been jarring at first and affected the overall flow of what I wrote. I will definitely try to weave in the theme and main point of my piece throughout my paragraphs in my future blog posts.

      Like I said before: thanks again for commenting on my blog and providing helpful tips! It’s so great to know how you have overcome similar struggles; I’m glad that we are both working on this journey of self-improvement. I also look forward to working with you in the future.


  3. Dear Riya,

    This piece was beautifully written and I really enjoyed reading it. Your use of similes and your comparison of yourself to a butterfly was well thought out and brilliant. I can easily relate to this piece as I too struggled with presentation anxiety. I could easily sympathize with the story because similar things have happened to me before as well. It had great flow and each transition from paragraph to paragraph made sense. I loved the style choices of your piece and your word choices made the piece pop out and represents you.

    As for improvements of this piece, I think that describing what happened before your epiphany would make your piece clearer. For me, it’s hard to believe that a sudden change could happen without any background help. Adding the description would make your story clearer and further helps the reader relate to your story.

    I too play the piano as well. I’m really interested in knowing what composers or pieces you enjoy listening too and knowing more about you as a piano player. Your final polished piece was exceptionally written and I will for sure read more of your pieces in the future.

    Sincerely, Yifeng

    1. Thank you for your comment, Yifeng! I love that you were able to recognize and appreciate my metaphors and similes. I’m glad that you were able to easily sympathize and connect with my story as well because that was one of my goals when I was in the process of writing this.

      I agree with the improvements you suggested. I can understand how my epiphany came very suddenly and may have confused or surprised the readers because of the lack of knowledge on any background help I got. Like you said, expanding more on this would aid readers in the understanding of my journey to who I am today.

      Thank you once again for your response! It allowed me to reflect on what I need to work on and what I’m doing well on, which I greatly value. I will look back on your response for my other pieces. I’d also like to learn more about you as a musician and hope that we’ll have more opportunities to talk to each other about the piano, along with other topics, in the future.


  4. RIya –

    You’ll have to forgive me for the untimely comment, and I’m extremely glad that Hunni isn’t marking me on timeliness anymore!

    I have a small confession to make – I never really left this blog behind. I’ve always checked up every once in a while, taken a read of the new pieces that the current class is making. I have to say, I am absolutely astonished with some of the works I read here. I’m not joking when I say that you and your AP class already writes at a level that I don’t even see at my university. Speaking of which, I should probably mention that I’m Areeb, a second year student at the University of Calgary. I had the absolute honor of being a part of Hunni’s AP English class between the years of 2016-2018.

    I found a piece of myself in this blog post. It felt like reading a slice of my own history. I began my own volunteering journey back in 2012, and the confidence and skills it gave me became the springboard off of which I was able to achieve so much more. I always love to tell people that the time they have to give is their only resource when someone is young. A high school student has little money, no educational certification, nothing that could be considered absolutely employable. Obviously, these shortcomings are not your fault, you still have tons of time to get there, I promise. These experiences set a foundation that everything else, personal and professional, builds upon. The time you give to organizations, to people, is invaluable. One can not put a monetary value on human connection. And because of that, I can assure you that you are making amazing decisions.

    I found it extremely interesting that you titled this piece as ‘personal and intentional change’. Drawing from my limited life experience, I can assure you that is an outstanding quality for a person to have. University has genuinely changed my work ethic, my mindset, my ability to learn/communicate/present/lead/etc. Higher education has (so far) taught me more than I’ll ever be able to express by telling someone “I’m a Kinesiology student!”

    Trapping oneself in stagnation is dangerous. If someone is unable to adapt and respond to the changing circumstances around them, that person will find it amazingly hard to meet demands, to satisfy expectations. As unfortunate as it is, being in such a cut-throat educational system, the failure to satisfy expectations has serious consequences. The ability to analyze your situation from a personal perspective, and intentionally make changes based off of those observations is a skill that few have, and even fewer can do effectively. It’s amazing that you’ve already recognized this, and, moreso – chosen to make it your topic when asked to write about something you truly and genuinely believe.

    I want you to know that this piece really touched me. It’s amazing to see the effects that something like volunteering can have on both the individual and the community. I’m extremely impressed with how far you’ve come, and I can assure you, it’s only up from here! Keep up the amazing work.


    1. Hi Areeb! Thank you so incredibly much for your kind comment. I’m so glad that we have similar ideologies, and that you were able to relate to my piece on a personal level, especially when it comes to volunteering because it definitely changed my perspective. Your point about how the time young people have to give is their only resource is something I agree with, and I’m glad that you recognized this point in my piece. I’m beyond thrilled to have heard about your personal experiences in higher education and how university has impacted your self-growth journey. I was happy to read about your stories and perspectives about intentional change, because it helped me truly understand how universal my belief is.

      Again, thank you for your response! It means a lot, especially since it’s coming from a former AP student. Thank you so much for the positivity and overall wisdom you provided me with on this post. Your comment was very reassuring because going through personal and intentional change in order to become better is difficult sometimes. Your comment has definitely given me motivation to not stay stagnant and continue my journey. I’ve come across a few of your pieces while browsing this blog, and they were all very impressive! I’m definitely going to use them as an example of what I can do to become a better writer.


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