College Essay

January 10, 2010
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In May, my mom told me about a summer babysitting job. Not realizing the challenge ahead of me, I took it.

I remember my first day. Anxious. Excited. Not sure of what to think. Is he going to like me? What will I have to do? Will everything be okay?


Everyday was a surprise. Slowly, I learned to overcome the daily challenges of working with a child with Down’s syndrome. Even though Justin was seven-years-old, his intellect was that of a two-year-old. His emotions changed often throughout our day.

Going to their community pool, Justin started out cheerful and ready to play. But after he did something wrong, he would sit for hours and not talk. He would pinch a kid. Throw his toys. As soon as I stopped him, his mood changed. He acted as if I wasn’t there.

“Justin, do you want to go swimming?”…”Do you want a snack?”…”What should we do?”

No response. Some days it took only a joke to make him happy again. Other days, nothing I did could make him smile.

As the summer went on, I knew if it was going to be a good or bad day. Justin either had a welcoming, heartwarming smile, or he had his tongue out and was non-responsive.

On days he wasn’t excited to see me, I was determined to change his mood. Some days it took hours to do. I made jokes. That wouldn’t work. I got play dough out. That wouldn’t work. Patiently—I waited for some response. That would work. He just wanted me to watch Winnie the Pooh, his favorite character, with him.

The last day with Justin was rewarding. I finally felt accomplished. I got him to cooperate with me. He read stories—only with me. He watched Pooh—only with me. He listened—only better with me. I was important to him. He was attached. I knew how to handle each day. Each mood. Each emotion.

I now visit Justin at school. When I do, the teacher says, “Justin I have a surprise for you. Look who’s here.”

Justin runs up to me with his arms wide open. He says, “Lindsey!”

This is the best hug. He remembers who I am.

That summer influenced not only me, but Justin too. Two summers pass with Justin and the dedication paid off.





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