September 1, 2011
By LaurenSarrantonio SILVER, Commack, New York
LaurenSarrantonio SILVER, Commack, New York
9 articles 1 photo 0 comments

“Don’t try this at home!” announced the slouched second grader who proceeded to thrust her arms toward the sky before cartwheeling into the misty, green pool. I had gaped at my childhood friend’s daring ways from the opposite side of the glistening water and wondered if her warning should be taken seriously. Taylor had constantly been introducing me to new experiences, including her gymnastic stunts as well as witty sayings. She and I began our journey together through the eyes of eight year olds, and although our friendship faded as we both grew apart, she continuously impacts my outlook on life.

Almost nine years after our day beneath the afternoon sun in her backyard, Taylor and I had been completely separated by time and had subsided in our individual niches in high school. Despite the fact that we would merely walk past each other in the hallways, I knew that in the back of our minds, we remembered the memories we’ve shared so many years ago. In fact, those memories were returned in full to me after an incident on a Sunday night. While the month of April was in bloom and soon-to-be college students roamed the country in search of their future school, a handful of people’s lives were halted after this night, when Taylor had been struck and killed by a car on the parkway. I was not informed of the news until the following day, when I had been visiting a college myself. Little did I know that as I was living my life and planning for my future, part of my past had just died.

To me, words are one of the most powerful inventions mankind will ever know. Words have the ability to pass on a story, to preserve memories, to persuade others into believing something, and also to provide comfort. Where would the most influential people, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and other strong leaders, be without language and communication? An entire country can feel relief after the ten assuring words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Use of words gives me a way to cope with tragedy, just as figures of the past have done as well.

Specifically after Taylor’s death, I expressed my emotion through a creative outlet. Memories keep flooding back from my friendship with Taylor, like an unexpected high tide at the shore of an ocean. The moments of my childhood swim within the sea, and occasionally they will wash up on the beach of present day when I come across a reminder of the past. My heart spills words onto paper in every and any form; poems and letters especially, have anchored my thoughts to a surface and can now inspire others to release emotions through their own passion, such as painting or making music. Life may include tragedy, but it is how we utilize the unfortunates granted to us that determines our strength as people. In my situation, I benefitted from a death by writing about it. Each new line scribbled down on paper is a representation of how I can transform unwanted events in life into valuable lessons learned. In fact, Taylor’s death has taught me how to deal with pain and loss. It assisted in discovering my passion for words and writing them in order to cradle a fragile situation. Without the loss of Taylor, I would not have grown so much as a friend, writer, and person.

The author's comments:
I find it so unfortunate that college essays now have a word limit, because I could go on endlessly about how a single person's fate has impacted my life. My college essay is basically about a childhood friend and the loss of her after a few years, and how I benefitted from the pain and loss.

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This article has 2 comments.

Commackkid said...
on Sep. 9 2011 at 9:38 pm
Wow i know how you feel i go to commack too and i knew taylor

on Sep. 8 2011 at 6:18 pm
TongueTied BRONZE, Centennial, Colorado
1 article 2 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"One original thought is worth a thousand quotings." - Diogenes

First of all I'm sorry for your loss. I can't begin to imagine one of my friends dead, childhood or otherwise.

Honestly, I got chills the moment I finished the last sentence in the second paragraph. It was good writing. I would even suggest that you write a new essay with that as the prompt. It made me want to know about your thoughts and how you dealt/deal with your future when an essential person from your past died.

The third paragraph was well written. It’s just that it seemed like a non-sequiter. I didn’t see the correlation and then when you got to the part where Taylor was your inspiration for writing, it just seemed a little too earnest. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking about that, but I would have liked to see it reworded because it gave the reader the wrong impression.

The fourth paragraph was awash with water imagery. It was a bit too much and even felt unexplained. ‘Each new line’ to ‘lesson learned’ could have been a completely separate essay as well. A good essay, which I would have liked to read, but a different one none the less. At the end of the end you mentioned that Taylor’s death has made you become a better friend, but I didn't read anything about your growth as a friend. I appreciate what you were trying to do by listing the three ways you grew, but the impact of the number three was lost and even betrayed you, making the reader assume you didn't know how to end it. 

All in all, it seems like you’re not exactly sure what you want to prove with this piece. Remember that your audience works at the school you’re applying for, it’s one person, and that the purpose of this piece is to give them a sense of who you are. While Taylor sounds like an interesting character that any non/fiction piece would be lucky to have, this has to be about you. If you want to write about Taylor and how her death has changed you, go ahead, just make sure that the essay shows the college who you are and sufficiently showcases your skills.

And above all be clear. Think to yourself as you rewrite the essay (I'd like to see you turn this into a story if possible). Is this essay about overcoming a loss and how it bettered you? Is this essay about how Taylor’s death introduced you into the world of writing? Or is this essay about how you see potential power in every word? I suggest the last, mostly because it was the first time we really learned anything about you. I wanted to get to know that person more.

I wish you the best of luck in this; college essays are hard. I’ve been wrestling with topics myself.



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