College Admissions Essays
These essays are in addition to three similar collections from the Class ofClass ofand Class of On the day my first novel was rejected, I was baking pies. Ten hours of rolling crusts and peeling apples and kneading butter and sugar into the crumble topping, stanford college essay the while drowning in the cinnamon air, surrounded by near-literal mountains of pies that we were forbidden to touch.
I sat on my couch and counted the minutes until the agony of pie-making, almost forgetting the novel that was currently with the acquisitions board of one of the biggest publishing houses in the world. I did know that two — two! I knew the meeting had been pushed back twice already by an unsympathetic hurricane that had left downtown Manhattan under several feet of water. I knew this was it. This had to be it. It was my turn.
I had slogged through the query trenches in search of an agent. Phone call from my agent. Sweaty palms and dizziness, a college application essays examples of a shaking finger to a smudged screen. Small talk and stalling. A sigh and, at last, the news, that the publisher had a similar novel on her list and vetoed the editors. That there was no heat in the flooded building and they had rejected everything and had gone home early.
Stomach in throat, swallow. False laugh, assurances of next time. End call. I fell asleep like that: okay, okay, okayand I almost believed it. After all, the next day was the beginning of National Novel Writing Month. A ringing in the ungodly hours of morning. Phone call from a friend. Bleary eyes and words still spinning: okay, okay, okay.
A mumbled what the heck? A classmate, a car out of control, a crash into a tree. Those were the facts — no opinions, no emotions I could translate into ink on a page, touch, understand. The words were gone. I sat at my computer with my fingers on the keys, shaking, sweating, smudging, but there was nothing to say. Everyone went to the memorial service and everyone brought flowers, and in the silence, we cried.
And there was anger, too, later — a bursting, a hush that imploded. I went home after the service and threw my laptop open and wrote about all that was unfair, and there was a lot to write about. Walking down a busy street, I see the quick glances and turned heads. The murmurs and giggles trickle toward me. After the click of the camera, they go on their way. Maybe then I could take a friend to a movie and just blend into the crowd.
Attention from strangers is nothing new to me. Questions about my height dominate almost every public interaction. My friends say my height is just a physical quality and not a personality trait. However, when I reflect on my life, I realize that my height has shaped my character in many ways and has helped to define the person I am.
I learned how to be comfortable in my own skin. Even as a young child, parents at the sidelines of my baseball games, as well as the umpire, would, in front of all my teammates, demand by birth certificate to prove my age.
I grew acquainted early on with the fact that I am abnormally tall and stick out about the crowd. Being self-conscious about it would be paralyzing. I learned how to be kind. When I was younger, some parents in my neighborhood deemed me a bully because I was so much larger than children my age. I had to be extra welcoming and gentle simply to play with other children. I learned humility. At 7 feet tall, everyone expects me to be an amazing basketball player.
They come expecting to see Dirk Nowitzki, and instead they might see a performance more like Will Ferrell in Semi-Pro. I have learned to be humble and to work even harder than my peers to meet their and my expectations. I developed a sense of lightheartedness.
When people playfully make fun of my height, I laugh at myself too. On my first day of high school, a girl dropped her books in a busy hallway. I crouched down to her level and gathered some of her notebooks. As we both stood up, her eyes widened as I kept rising over her. Dumbfounded, she dropped her books again. Embarrassed, we both laughed and picked up the books a second time. All of these lessons have defined me. People unfamiliar to me have always wanted to engage me in lengthy conversations, so I have had to become comfortable interacting with all kinds of people.
Looking back, I realize that through years of such encounters, Extracurricular activities 2019 have become a confident, articulate person. Being a 7-footer is both a blessing and a curse, but in the end, accepting who you are is the first step to happiness. I am here because my great-grandfather tied his shoelace. His fellow soldiers surged across the field, but he paused for the briefest of moments because his laces had come undone.
Those ahead of him were blown to bits. Years later, as Montenegro was facing a civil war, the communists came to his home. His village was small, and he knew the men who knocked on his door. But this familiarity meant nothing, for when they saw him they thought of the word America, stamped across a land where the poor were stripped of their rights and where the fierce and volatile Balkan temper would not do. But he did not, for he knew that he could not run.
I also cannot run, but I wear my new shoes with great ease and comfort. I wear the secret guilt, the belief in equality, the obsession comparative essay writing culture, and the worship of rational thinking and education that becomes the certain kind of American that I am.
None of these things are costumes. They may be a part, but I can say with certainty that they are not all. We visit every two or three years or so. Everybody is there, my entire collection of cousins and aunts and grandparents neatly totted up in a scattering of villages and cities, arms open with the promise of a few sneaky sips of rakia and bites of kajmak. I love them, I truly do. But they are not me, those things.
They are something else. Somebody is always falling ill, or drinking too much, or making trouble for themselves. We speak of them sometimes, or pity them, but we do not go to their weddings or funerals. And yet I feel worried, not for them, but for myself.
The Serbs and Montenegrins are people of complicated histories, and as I watch the documentaries my father made during the civil war there, I am gripped with fear and fascination.
Those strange people can be so hateful. They cry and beat their hearts at the thought of Serbian loss in college application essays examples Battle of Kosovo in This kind of nationalism makes me cringe.
I do not want to be that way. But is there not something beautiful in that kind of passion and emotion? What does it say of me that I sometimes cannot help but romanticize something I know to be destructive and oppressive?
This is why I worry. They are not me, I tell myself, and I am right. But can they not be just a part? Can they not be a tiny sliver, or maybe even a sizeable chunk, comparable even to the American in me? Must I relegate them to nothing at all? For if those shoes, the ones my grandfather bent to tie in the middle of that blazing battlefield in France, are not mine, then why do I think of them so often? My head was spinning, my hands were bleeding, and my lungs desperately needed more air.
The air was filled with the shouts of men dying and steel clashing with steel. To my right an old man lay dead, missing an arm. My men were pouring out of the breach in full retreat. Then reality came crashing down. The sole occupant of the auditorium was a tall, bald, British man with a terrifyingly condescending demeanor.
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