Things I Can't Tell Colleges This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Sherman Oaks, CA

Dear College,


The first thing you should know about me is that I am not rich enough for you.


I'm not poor enough, either, I will never qualify for scholarships, just perched on the edge of the diving board, waiting to drown in debt.


The second thing you should know about me is that my biggest life challenge is neither inspiring nor heartbreaking. There is neither a climax to the story nor a resolution, either, because I'm still at the exposition of trying to learn how to love myself.


Third: an object I would use to represent myself is hand sanitizer. Not because I crave good personal hygiene or possess some redeeming quality like practicality, but just because the overwhelming scent of Midnight Pomegranate and Fresh Picked Apples reminds me of sex. Sorry, College Essay Guy. I'm sure your gold letter-embossed blue Bible is lovely.


A fourth component of my personal statement is that I resent you already. I want to go to your school to figure out my future, not take more core curriculum classes; I have taken enough of those for a lifetime.  At the same time, I am scared of the possibility of never knowing what I want to do. Terrified. (This is how I feel about my challenge; am I doing it right?)


Fifth, I make a lot of mistakes. Now, let's distinguish: these are not the mistakes you want to hear about. Those are "I failed to turn in my science project on time, but in the end I learned how to send a rocket into space and found my true self while I was at it." or, "I accidentally signed up for volunteering at the zoo but it worked out because the monkeys are my best friends now, and I have a leadership position, too!"


Mine are "I cheated on a boy who used to be my best friend, and we don't really speak anymore." and "I taught my body self-hatred and faded into the background so much that classmates I have been going to school with for six years now don't know my name." Does it make sense now? Or can we argue here that the outcome of my shortcomings is my learned values of honesty, loyalty, and independence?


My sixth confession is that everything I submit to you will be somewhat of a falsehood. I will tell you that cross country changed me because it taught me perseverance. I still come to a dead stop in the middle of my races so that I can try to fill my heaving lungs with oxygen, hands on my dirt-caked knees. I will tell you that being concertmaster of the school orchestra has made me a better person because I have learned patience and acquired leadership that will qualify me for the real world. I still sigh and put down the stick I've been banging against the metal stand for thirty minutes because I need a break, and tell my section that we should stop for the day because I have three tests tomorrow and a track meet, plus a recital over the weekend.


I think I'm over the word limit by now.






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