“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.


18 thoughts on “Y A W P

  1. Great sentiments and great start for your first novel! Neve lose your vision of who you are and who you want to become. Like the movie Hook, don’t forget you know how to fly.


  2. Here’s the trick, college is just about proving you can get through and complete the degree. But yes, the true living and creative journey may happen outside. Some people earn a living part time and create their world the rest of the time. You get to decide. But degrees get you jobs that pay your way while you play. Have you read Big Magic yet?


  3. These essays conjure a potential you, a possible you, the one who gives the premise of a future in which you will contribute to society in XYZ ways. This you isn’t supposed to enter an ironclad contract any more than it is to be a charade of what you really want to do or be. (Unless, of course, the grant or scholarship is for specific areas of study ^_^).


  4. What you intend to do, especially if it is approved of by providers, impresses the provider more than what you have done. You can always change your mind later or add something that impresses you.

    The only way to be permanently free of the “system” is to first make use of it. This is entirely fair in relation to a system which would use you, given the chance. Not so in relation to fair minded people. Wisdom is knowing the difference. 🙂 🙂 (If that is naughty, subversive and/or contributing to the delinquency of a minor – yay) 🙂


  5. I hope that writing those “academically short and unimpressive” essays does not affect your ability to write beautiful ones like this. Keep writing more like this one, you have a gift. 🙂


  6. You have amazing abilities when it comes to writing, and I am sure you have incredible talents in other areas as well. Don’t let the plans that you are making for your life now limit the potential and undoubted success that will come in your future.

    Liked by 1 person

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