Today, I re-read my college entrance essay, 5.5 years after writing it, and I wanted to share it with the web. Reading it now, as a more seasoned writer, I see that it could use a second, third, maybe fourth draft. But it’s the message that I love, almost like I had intended it as a note to my future (i.e. current) self. Now, I am struggling with finding myself in this post-college world. It’s given me a bit more inspiration to go out and explore. So give it a read, and I hope you get something positive out of it too!
Beneath all the sheet rock and the rubble lies my childhood, from start to finish. Covered in dust are the trails of imprinted kitty-littered tiles and shards of sponge-painted, blue-and-white walls – remnants of a room in which the daily routines of life took place. The house I grew up in is being renovated – taken apart and built back up. Yet as I sit on the dewy grass beside the pile of debris, I am flooded with vivid scenes from the past. I smile as I remember my mother and me standing in Siperstein’s Paint Shop picking out new colors, then the two of us sitting in the boring, white-walled bathroom painting a new future. As tears stream down my face, I try to strip away a patch of the sponge-painted wall, hoping to salvage any last piece of my youth.
It is not the old bathroom that I cry over; it is not the destruction of the creative walls or even the bathtub where my mother once bathed me or the sink over which I first applied make-up. It is the realization that I am at the end of my childhood. Far from ordinary, my bathroom has been a place of refuge and realization, even inspiration – from washing the mud off my calves after playing the hardest, most aggressive lacrosse game of my life, to smearing the caked-on make-up off my face after finally acknowledging that I am not a girly-girl. Many times my mother had to scrub the sink clean, stained by paint splatters from my artistic forays. Other times she would chase me down as I ran around the house with the grimy old shower curtain on my back, pretending to be Superman saving the planet from disaster.
Ever since I can remember, I dreamed of making my mark on the world. Some of my best thoughts and ideas were harvested within these walls of soap and shampoo. Every experience of my life has molded me, matured me, brought me to the place I am now – ready for new ideas and experiences, ready to take flight into the real world. These changes, which I am eager to embrace, mark the end of an era of youth and naivety.
As I stare at the pile of destruction before me, pieces of my old bathroom in hand, I smile. My childhood is in the past, but it’s not gone. It never will be. It has shaped me into the imaginative, free-spirited person I am today. Now, instead of splashing in the tub with my tugboat and Barbie dolls, I must dip my toes into new waters and plunge into the vast sea of life. As I take this giant leap out of the comfortable confines and safety of my familiar old bathroom walls, I am ready to open my mind to new ideas and a host of new experiences that will shape my future and transform me into an independent and successful young adult. No longer am I limited to my four-foot by two-foot tub; I am eager to throw away my Swimmies and dive into the depths of Cayuga Lake.