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500 Words or Less
I wish the application process lasted six days as opposed to six months. I have spent more than the last year worrying about where I will attend college, reading articles, talking to students, attending college presentations; all in an attempt to picture myself at the right college, while weighing what seems like a thousand factors that all contribute to the ideal place for my higher learning that floats somewhere in my head. Finally, all these efforts culminated in my east coast trip, trekking all the way from Southern California. I was excited, open minded, and uncertain of what to expect, but all I knew was that I was finally going to be walking the grounds of the academic pantheons of wonder that loom like heavenly palaces for every intellectually concerned high school student across America.
The moment I touched down on New York soil, I came, saw, and conquered, college after college, tour after tour, mixing in plenty of good food and sightseeing, but never losing sight of what was at stake here: my future. I breathed the smoggy air of NYU and walked in the same steps as countless past college intellectuals across the entire northern Atlantic seaboard, taking in everything possible, and comparing the articles I had read with what I could actually see with my own eyes. Ultimately, I was profoundly inspired. I found schools that made me feel comfortable, excited, and even so enthused that I proceeded to type the majority of my essays for my favorite schools, while still feeling the high of walking their grounds.
On the flight home, I felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. "You have gotten a lot of the hard stuff out of the way", I told myself in reference to the essays. "Those admissions officers are gonna love you."
I sat back and sipped a ginger ale feeling the first sense of calm about my future prospects. Unfortunately, the flight did not go as planned. A hurricane had formed off the gulf coast and we were connecting at Houston Intercontinental airport; the storm was unavoidable. Midway through the flight, with my stomach already in knots over the turbulence and my mother sweating bullets, red lights began to flash across the plane. The flight attendants promptly rushed through the aisles to inform us we would be making an improvised landing in the Gulf of Mexico, and that there would be boats there waiting to take us away from the hurricane.
"Blow into the red tube to inflate your flotation device and no carry-on items allowed when exiting the aircraft", they instructed.
My heart dropped, my mind immediately shot to my laptop and I screamed out, "But what about my laptop!", however the attendants were already moving far past me with the most stressed looks I had ever seen on flight attendants’ faces. My mind was already made up and I wasn't going to allow the directions of a few flight attendants destroy my college future, so I removed my laptop with every piece of writing I had worked on, my babies, and clutched it to my chest until the plane splashed smoothly into the gray gulf.
The moment we touched down, everyone quickly rushed to the exit hatches, as if we were on the Titanic. When I finally approached the yellow slide that loomed below me, the elderly, skinny flight attendant addressed me, "Sorry son I can't allow you to take that computer with you, its federal law."
I stood firm tightening my grip on the laptop and shaking my head no. My future was in my hands, literally, and I wasn’t going to let go of what I considered to be the best representation of me; documents that could never be recreated.
The attendant spoke more aggressively, “I don’t have time for this son, just give me the laptop”, and as he reached to grab the laptop out of my arms, I slipped from his grasp and jumped through the exit and down the rubber slide. The water came quickly and I used my legs to brace myself from flying over the buffer at the bottom of the slide. My mother was waving her arm beckoning me to join my family who were floating in the water like ripe oranges in the wind and were ready to follow the other passengers toward the tall rescue boat.
I paused for a moment and considered my options with none of them seeming attractive, but understanding the urgency of the situation, I kissed the silver cover of my laptop goodbye and placed it behind the rubber buffer of the slide. I guess some things are just more important than college applications. My mother hugged me as I swam toward her and I saw the silver laptop fade into the fog behind me.
As terrible as my story might sound, it has put the college application process in perspective for me. It might have been the only way for me to realize that everything is really going to be alright and that my college experience will be equally dependent on me as it is dependent on the college itself, plus I got a pretty cool college essay to top off the experience. In closing, I hope I am a good fit for your college and I am sorry this is not five hundred words or less.