‘This I Believe’ by Kelsey Shue

By Kelsey Shue, a junior communication major from Dalton, Ohio

On Tuesday, Dec. 1, junior Kelsey Shue’s essay about lessons from her high school car aired on WVPE-88.1 FM.

I believe that clunker cars build character.

It was the first sunny day in the spring of my freshman year of high school in Kidron, Ohio. I had just gotten my permit to drive and my dad was taking me car shopping.

We had just pulled into the used car lot, and as my eyes wandered to Jettas and Civics, my dad’s had gone in a different direction. He led me over to a big, white Buick. It was the exact model that my grandparents had set sail in when I was knee-high. I was mortified, and as if that wasn’t enough, I was only one year older than this car we were looking at. Explaining my reasoning against the Buick was hopeless. My dad just shrugged, and with a twinkle in his eye, said, “It creates good character.”

Good character isn’t the result of owning the coolest car, or the nicest clothes, he explained to me as we rode in the Buick’s cushy red-velvet seats on the way back home. It doesn’t come about when you get everything you want, when you want it. Good character takes time and patience.

Looking back six years later, I’ve realized that my beautiful, big Buick has taught me a few things about character:

  • Keep an open mind. I never would have learned to appreciate my Buick’s smooth sail if I wouldn’t have gotten past the chips in the paint. Sometimes you have to overlook first impressions to see the real person.
  • Be positive. After a few months of owning my Buick, I began to see the rust spots as decoration or see the driver’s window that doesn’t close, as a way to make fast food, even quicker!
  • Keep things in perspective. A car is a car. If it gets you from Point A to Point B, it’s done its job.

So now as I drive my Civic, I´m able to look out the window at a clunker car, and understand my dad´s words, “It creates good character.”