“This I Believe” essayist shares life experiences


Rittenberg speaks with students in the library.

Emphasizing his optimistic views about the future of today’s generation, Josh Rittenberg, a “This I Believe” essayist, sat down with students to share his ideas and beliefs about writing.

At the age of 16, Rittenberg wrote the essay “Tomorrow will be a Better Day,” for the National Public Radio (NPR) series, “This I Believe.” The essay, about his optimism toward future generations, tells of his perspective on staying positive in the midst of difficult situations.

“We should be turning our attention to making the quality of our lives better,” Rittenberg said.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in American History, he went on to Fordham University to study law. According to Rittenberg, the writing style of law school is analytical and concise, in comparison to creative writing.

As an avid reader, Rittenberg expressed his passion for American history through his essays.

“When I chose to write about something I believe in,” Rittenberg said, “I chose to view it through the lens of history.”

Rittenberg began his writing career with the essay, “Why School Should Lighten Up on Homework,” which was published in Newsday, a Long Island daily. He then wrote his second piece, taking his theme of positive attitude from his parents.

“Problems offer the opportunity to fix problems,” he said. “Cancer offers the opportunity to fix cancer.”

Rittenberg also offered some advice to aspiring writers to improve on their overall writing skills.

“Edit,” he said, “Edit a million times. On a lot of pieces I write, I spend hours editing.”

At the present, Rittenberg plans to establish a business in aquaponics, an apartment-friendly indoor garden system. He hopes to address today’s environmental issues in part by growing food indoors.