“You will never influence the world by trying to be like it”
I’ve been writing a lot of scholarship essays lately; 1000 word papers answering questions about my high school accomplishments (academically short and unimpressive), life roadmaps (planning my adulthood already?) and offering advice to other, younger students (it’s so much cooler to be a dork).
Gratefulness doesn’t cover how much I value the opportunity to apply for these grants; no matter how tedious or egotistical it feels to wrack them out, I really need the money for college.
But I can’t help banging my head on the table as I write them- the idea of plotting out my life in black and white terrifies me.
Impress board members with perfect GPAs? List all the organizations I’ve been a part of like a dispassionate grocery list, thrown aside if I don’t meet their desired quantity? Frantically wave my arms for attention in the masses of impeccable students, eyes glazed over in a desensitized frenzy? Point me to the nearest plank so I can walk straight off, please.
There has to be more to life than a list of numbers that “define” my success; I refuse to tie myself down to test scores and class grades.
Where’s the fun in summiting a mountain without the challenge of a climb? What’s the point in being alive if you don’t get out and fight your way to do what brings you bliss, every day? In the words of Walt Whitman, I’d rather get onto the rooftops and shout my “barbaric yawp” to the world than be shut into a desk all day.
I’d rather be courageous. Creative. Constantly in motion.
I’d rather throw commitments into the wind, cut myself off from a world of consumerism and competition. Live a life filled with adventure, meeting new people of unique and fearless character. Swap out the fancy blouses for a tee shirt, slip into a serenity filled with novels, blank notebook paper and an endless supply of colored sharpies. Surround myself in an abundance of spirit and knowledge rather than superficial greed.
Can that be written in an essay? Is honesty, really, the best policy?
Or maybe I’ll just save that carpe-diem attitude for my novel.