I write now as an official senior at Santa Cruz High. After my first full week of school (I say full but it was a three day week) I can officially say one thing; There is no way I’m going to make it through another nine months.
I know saying this is going to open up a whole can of worms. Worms that say to enjoy every moment, and that the year will go by in a flash, and this will be one of the greatest times in my young life. That’s great and all, but for now I’m just trying to stay conscious through Economics. This is the first time in the past four years of school I haven’t been excited about going back. Normally I have that first initial delusion telling me this year will be so much fun etc. etc. Unfortunately I seem to have finally caught on to my mind’s tricks, and now I can’t believe I’ve only gone through three days.
In contrast to the monotony of school I have the extreme pressure of college applications and essays and scholarships. Do you know what one of the short answer questions is on an application?
“What inspires you?”
I’m sorry, but in what world am I able to accurately express what inspires me in less than 1500 characters? More importantly, how can I best phrase this question to show I’m a fascinating person?
Because like it or not that’s the ticket. If I can show in some essay how I’ve triumphed over something in my life I’ve got a hell of a better chance than the rest of the poor saps with functional families. Is this what we’ve come to? We have to sell ourselves, our tragedies, in order to be deemed worthy of these institutions?
In some ways I guess it’s a good thing. I would rather be recognized for overcoming adversity instead of ignored. I’m not arguing because it’s unfair for me, it’s the opposite. With these colleges searching for a diamond in the rough I have an advantage, which I can’t afford to pass up. But I just don’t know if that’s what I want to be based on.
The Common Application, which is the app that all colleges require usually in addition to their own supplements, gives you three options for an essay. Two of them I can’t remember right now, but the third asks; “Evaluate an ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.”
This alone presents me with what it asks: an ethical dilemma. Do I sell myself, my story, my great personal tragedy, as a cheap way to get into college? I mean, why not? Other people won’t hesitate to do it. In fact, it’s probably one of the biggest factors to help me get in. It gives me a fighting chance. What if it mitigates it though? I’m not ruled by what’s happened to me, I’m changed by it but not defined by it. But what if it somehow makes it hollow? Even worse, what if being able to use it as a way to get into college makes it worth it? It shouldn’t be, it isn’t, and it wasn’t worth it. But should it be? Should I wring out some last reward for it?
I’ll admit this article’s train of thought has gotten away from me, something that seems to be happening more and more with these lately. I begin with one idea in mind and the next thing you know you’re riding through my stream of consciousness. This is how I think writing should be though; honest, unplanned, and full of more questions than answers.
So maybe I’ll write out my tragedy to these colleges, or maybe I’ll tell them why I can’t, or maybe I could do the simple thing and just pick a different topic. But I can tell I won’t, that a quandary such as this is too strong to keep at bay.
So maybe I’ll just wing it.