One of the best things I learned at RYLA was the value of networking. Apparently, one is supposed to meet people, make a connection, establish a friendship, et cetera, so that later you can exploit their skills for when you need them. I happen to have to have skilled friends. (Whose opinions are exceedingly invaluable to me.) Therefore, it is my duty as a student of networking-slash-RYLArian to exploit this.
What I'm posting here is one of my numerous attempts as writing a college application essay -- this one only happens to be the first I've managed to finish. So, um, if you feel like it, could you maybe help me? I need your criticism. Whether I need to scratch this essay altogether and start afresh, if I need to crystalize the ideas more, rearrange the focus, fix grammatical errors, switch around the structure, whatever criticism you can give me would be really brilliant. I need to know if I've missed the point of application essays. So yah. If you'd do that for me. I'd be indebted. :)
Once upon a time I turned eleven and I was scared to death.Ten is exciting. The first year in double digits, the thrill of fifth grade. Eleven is scary. One is practically grown up by eleven, on the slippery slope of tweendom. I’m the oldest kid of four, and in between changing my brother’s diapers I felt strongly my first-born responsibility streak maturing and my ambition flowering. That is, until my birthday came. Eyes soggy with tears, I mumbled to myself in the safe darkness of the after-bedtime hours, “I don’t want to grow up, I don’t want to get old, I want to stay like this forever.” Fear of the unknown? Perhaps. But maybe it was more that I loved the present so much I couldn’t fathom it getting any better. It’s so much easier to dream about “growing up” than to actually do it.For years I resisted the inevitable growing up, clinging to what my mom called my “Peter Pan complex.” With each birthday I inwardly cringed, with each “teenaged milestone” I dug in my heels—I didn’t want to learn to drive, I didn’t want to get a job, I didn’t want to open a bank account, and, couldn’t I be homeschooled just another year? “I like the way things are now, I don’t want to get older.” I insisted. I loved my comfort zone, and was convinced that nothing wonderful could lie outside of it. I was satisfied with stunted living, I assumed that what I knew at the moment was as good as life could get.Then, for my British literature class freshman year, my teacher announced the class reading content, book pages for points. This class was larger than I had been used to (I’m home schooled, after all; a class of twenty kids was a novelty to me) and I was determined to find some way to stand out. The reading contest seemed like an easy way to do so. I started with J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, because I was an infatuated teenaged girl who had just seen the live action Peter Pan movie (staring dreamy Jeremy Sumpter) nearly a dozen times. If I may say so, sound logic!It was a really sad book. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the book itself was more delightful than I had been given reason to anticipate, but the knowledge that Barrie had written the book en memorandum of his mother’s delusional grief over her dead son who would never grow up, was sobering. An English proverb I have tacked on my bulletin board reads, “Do not regret growing older for it is a privilege denied to many.” Maybe there’s a reason we all grow up.One of my favorite lines from Peter Pan says, “When you are older you will know that life is a long lesson in humility.” It’s exhilarating that I see the truth of that statement more each day. I’m so young, so foolish. I have been humbled by the realization that I don’t know all there is to know about living. Tomorrow might be different than today, and with it I will change, like-it-or-not. I can’t do what I was made to do if I maintain my comfortable distance from “growing up” forever. Change may not always be pleasant, but it will always be necessary.I’m finally ready to write my Bildungsroman. I’m ready to grow up some more.