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My Résumé This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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My glossy black pumps carry me into the reception area. I sit across from the door where someone is waiting to change my future. I open my folder again, as other kids around me have done, and review it one last time.

As I take in my résumé, my competition mocks me in my mind: these winners of scholarship competitions have probably all garnered national awards for their research projects or are humanitarians who have dined with the president for their documented hours of service. Looking at my résumé, I wish I had found some unique way to spend my summers. Remembering them, images come to mind: Jade's closemouthed smile, Aniya's tight hug every morning, Skylar's attempts to make me dance.

As the oldest of five, my desire to work with children is odd, at best. But, when my camp kids come to mind, I am eager for the school year to end so I can return to camp. What makes me think twice is the burdens these children carry and what little I can do to ease that. I can't heal all their wounds in just a summer or two. While there are so many lines I can't cross, there are things I can do: I can run with Aniya, play ConnectFour with Curtis, sit with Jade at lunch, giggle with Skylar over my ratty Chucks, and just be there for them during our time together.

By the end of my third summer, Skylar, who once put people off with her attitude, had matured to the point where she was helping the younger children with their dance moves for the play. Curtis, who felt he didn't belong at camp because of his size, had made lots of friends. Jade, who at first barely spoke to anyone but her sister, was now explaining to others how to play a game we had created.

At the end of that third summer, I cried for the first time at the thought of leaving. Not even during my own years at that ­playground had I cried. And yet, there I was, patting Jade's head, telling her we would all be together again next summer, with my voice cracking and tears blurring my vision.

It may have been smarter for me to spend my summers in a way that would further my career and prepare me for the real world. These thoughts creep into my mind as I refocus on my résumé and glance at the better-qualified hopefuls sitting around me. Then I remember my kids. I remember the place they have earned in my heart for changing me from a quiet, distant teenager into a strong-willed, compassionate young woman who smiles at every child she meets. These memories let me know that I made the right choice.

Life isn't about my résumé. It is about who is changed as a result of my actions, big or small. When I decided to work at the playground, my kids and I were all completely and irrevocably changed.

“Stephanie?”

I look up and see a woman standing in the doorway of the room where someone is waiting to change my future. I feel the hearts of my summer camp kids lighting a fire in me, making me strong.

I stand. “That's me.”

“Are you ready for your interview?”

I step forward and say, “Now I am.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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BonAppetitGel said...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 11:37 am:
I really loved this essay!
 
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Neocutey24 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm:
Took me forever to get to this. All that "show not tell" advice came to fruition.
 
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Sophia-Lynn E. said...
Jan. 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm:
i really like this piece... it makes me feel like i am actually in your place
 
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