Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

University of Chicago college essay This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
University of Chicago extended essay, application for the 2012-2013 school year

Prompt - "Don't write about reverse psychology."


Don’t you dare read this essay. Don’t dangle on every word, do not devote your full attention to it because it is not worth it. So why are you still reading? I did not spend much time on it anyway. I did not think about it in the shower, about whether I should obey the spirit or the letter of the prompt. I did not challenge myself. I never thought about how much fun it is to do chores as long as no one has told you to do them. I did not think about whether fewer kids would drink if it were legal, or if I would have eaten my broccoli if my mom had told me not to. See, I did not put much thought into this at all, so do not read another word.

It is a mind trick; a lie told as a means to an end; an easy way out. It is mysterious and dangerous communication. Especially between parents and children, it is extremely confusing and lays a foundation for distrust. After all, if you tell your child not to go outside every day because you really want him to, he will end up playing in the backyard during a lightning storm. Why should he listen to you at all if he has disobeyed you before and you encouraged it?

I am not saying that there is no place in the world for untruth. I am old enough to know that life is not a Disney movie, and that sometimes the value of the truth can be beaten by the consequences of telling it. If you need a little mind trick to get your child to eat her vegetables once or twice, it is not the end of the world.

But I worry about the misuse of communication. I visualize a baby holding a loaded gun. What is scary about the image is not that the baby is malicious and wants to kill someone, but that the baby cannot possibly comprehend the power it holds. Communication is as powerful as that loaded gun, and just as dangerous in immature hands.

Today more than ever, you often cannot read the face at the other end of a conversation. You cannot hear the stutter or wavering words within a text or instant message. You cannot tell what is a lie. You also cannot see the effect of your actions. You cannot see the hurt in someone else’s eyes after you press send. The destructive power of communication snarls behind the names people call each other and the words people use to tear each other down. But I believe in the constructive power of communication. I believe that the best discoveries will be sculpted from collaboration, using communication in pursuit of common goals as opposed to selfishly as a means to an end. I believe that you can only confidently understand your own ideas when others have challenged them. I believe that one person’s words to others can change the world. I just hope that they think before they speak.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback