Revisiting College Entrance Essays, or How Far We’ve Come
- Article by Kirsten Steuber
- September 16, 2011
I hate when people disbelieve time. Ex: “I can’t believe it’s noon!” or “Can you believe it’s been five years since we first met?”
And now, as a fourth year, there is one unbelievable event constantly brought to my attention: that we are, indeed, fourth years. Can you believe it?
Yes, because I own a calendar and have taken three years of incredibly useful classes on Medieval Latin.
But let’s be honest, the grinding part about these statements isn’t that I actually think most of the people (most) that I know don’t understand the passing of time, it’s that when a friend comes to me and sighs, “Man, can you believe we’re fourth years already?” I hear, “Man, can you believe how inevitable our deaths are?” And dude, believe that that is a serious bummer.
Not too long ago we were digging in sandboxes, striving to delve far enough to reach the water that would pool at the bottom of only the deepest, darkest holes. Then we would scoop up that water by hand and try in vain to use it for our castle’s moat. Oh, how it would only be soaked up by the dry sand.
Time mocks us like that. We think we’ve gotten deep enough to answer life’s mysteries, only to publicize our thoughts and become the laughing stock of the planet. Or, in the case of college entrance essays, get into a good school.
As the time comes to begin writing more of these literary abominations for grad schools, it’s the perfect occasion to look back and see what we wrote. What amazing insights did we bring to the admissions board that earned our acceptance to college in the first place? Let’s take a peek:
“Debates over current events and assigned readings offer hours of discussion outside of class, so why constantly turn to the latest gossip for conversation?”
The amount of pretentious nerdom in that short sentence is off the charts. Not even Master Yoda has a count that high. And yet, sitting in our little desks, bellies full of people food, eagerly imagining a college of leather chairs and sweater vests, how could we have thought differently? Until you’ve truly learned the hardships of Clemons Library at 4 a.m. or read Beowulf for the fifth time, how could children know the serendipity of Bad Girl’s Club?
But this was just the required essay, perhaps in the optional essay, the freedom of topic allowed for a truer look at our shining intellectual minds: “me + Gandalf + Luke Skywalker = kicking Mordor butt”
And maybe unicorns were lost in the Flood, Big Foot is real, and Taco Bell uses only fresh, quality ingredients.
For those first years among us, bright-eyed lil’ lambs having just finished composing the essays that brought them here, save those essays. Save them as a marker you can look back upon when someone says, “I can’t believe we are graduating.” Take those pages of 500 words or less, and rub them in their disbelieving faces, thundering, “Is this what you would believe?! That we are the same beasts who aborted these words?”
We must believe in the passing of time; revel in how far we’ve come. We must accept that we are Fourth Years and hope that with luck, maybe, just maybe, one day, we’ll even be Real People.