For a month, I was sullen, the world whisking around me, while I ached with pain of the possibility of losing my mother. I used my love of Spanish to ease the pain.
The phrase, el pollo es mi comida favorita, a skipping track, prevented me from thinking about the situation, while conjugating verbs into different tenses restrained the shakiness of my voice and the tears forming in my eyes. Whereas before counting to ten bored me, I now counted to to coax my fingers from trembling.
Sitting beside my ailing mother, I struggled for the right words in English, but knew them all in Spanish. Spanish was my savior. While a surgeon cured my mother, Spanish fixed me.
Sitting in my seventh grade classroom, I would have never thought that something so basic as numbers could stave off the misery of my situation, nor could I ever have guessed that Spanish would become my holy grail. Through the years, Spanish has become my best friend, calming me when my blood pressure starts to rise and assuring me that everything will be alright. While I matured into una mujer woman in that hospital room, I learned that salvation negates translation and that esperanza hope can be found in the strangest of words.
The scene below me feels like a little slice of the real world. A couple walks by and my ear quickly notices that they speak in Korean. I spot my Ethiopian friend Ike, almost dancing, as he moves through the crowd on the floor below me; his real name is so long no one can pronounce it. Later, my best friend will present me with some homemade Mexican Christmas ponche full of sugarcane to chew on.
I reluctantly stop people watching and proceed to class. It always nice to stop and imagine all the different cultures and backgrounds can be found at my small school of barely 2, people. Everyone, I have realized, has their own distinct way of life defined by various situations from trying to succeed as a first generation immigrant to working to help their family make ends meet each month.
There is nothing sheltered about Spring Woods High School. My parents have steady jobs. I live in a neighborhood zoned, if only barely, to a school called Memorial High School—the shiny, rich abundant school of the district. From my early childhood my parents had planned on me attending this high school, as supposedly it provides one of the best public school educations in Houston. After much debate I finally settled on Spring Woods. Coming from a very small charter middle school, high school was rather shocking. On my first day I was astounded by the other kids. They all looked and acted alike.
Almost all had the same clothing, hair styles, necklaces, flip-flops and backpacks with their names monographed on them. Nearly all of them also had iPods, this was almost four years ago when it was not so common to see iPods everywhere. I was amazed at how they treated their iPods so carelessly, when I have a friend who carefully saved her lunch money for months just to be able to buy one. Needless to say, she is very protective of it.
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Sitting in the cafeteria, I felt like I was back in fifth grade. Everyone brought nice neat little lunches, packet perfectly in expensive lunch boxes. Mothers stood at the lunch line selling cookies to raise money for various organizations, as stay at home moms they had nothing else to do with their time. I lasted only a week at this place. I missed the teachers who taught about ideas instead of forcing us to merely memorize.
I missed the general accepting feeling that comes from such a heterogeneous mixture of people. I could now see that though. This I attribute to my time at Emandal, a family-run farm that has opened its gates each summer since to those seeking an alternative vacation. For the past 13 years my family has made the pilgrimage to Willits, California, to spend the second week of August at Emandal.
What inspires a family to spend their hard-earned cash picking vegetables or milking cows while residing in prehistoric cabins without indoor plumbing? Well, only at Emandal can I husk corn at 5 p. Nowhere else do year-old boys agree to square dance with their mothers or take the time to realize the solitude in knitting. At Emandal there are no social boundaries, no class distinctions.
If fried chicken remains from dinner last night, you can count on it mysteriously resurfacing as Chicken Curry at lunch. When my mother threatened to give away my baby clothes, I cut them up and made my sister a quilt for her birthday.
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But the best part of Emandal is the food. We exchange CDs with Joel the carrot guy and the Japanese greens lady saves us the last bag of cucumbers. In my 13th year, when I had reached the stage where crucifixion was preferable to being seen with my parents, they asked whether I still wanted to go to Emandal. Thank goodness something inside of me was still smart enough to say yes. B to the back, b to the back. So b first. So beau. No not full: ful.
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They chop that l off, so b-eau-ti-ful. When everyone did realize what was going on and why it was that I got Cs in spelling, I was packed off to resource room i. Special Ed to learn how to write pretty. At first I liked it.
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Resource room gave me an excuse not to do well in spelling, and it let me spend class time doing silly spelling exercises. It let me avoid my problem and at the same time pretend I was doing something to correct it, but in all honesty it was just a waste of time. When I came to terms with this I convinced my mother to take me out of resource room and that I could take responsibility for my own problem, and that is exactly what I did, and have done ever since. I was freed from resource room on the condition that I get A's on every other spelling test that year, which I did.
Since then I have realized that I can never allow myself to live life in a metaphorical resource room. I must take accountability and responsibility for myself, and not accept special treatment where there is anyway I can avoid it. This philosophy was tested last year when I was signing up for the SAT. My mother was handing over her credit card when she asked me if I thought extra time would be useful on the SAT. My mother offered no resistance to my stance and I typed in her AmEx number while I reflected on the implications of my denial.
I have spent a lot of time agonizing over how to spell the simplest words, and I doubt anyone has quite attained my level of red underlines in a word document, but that just means checking the dictionary and an age spent poring over SpellCheck.
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I have never taken extra time or other benefits on standardized tests and I never will, because that is not how I want to succeed. I want to sink or swim on my own and not use water wings to get through the world. Life is complex all the way down to the atomic level.
Organ systems comprised of bits of tissue, formed by cells, made up of organelles, formed by carbon compounds. Throughout high school, I have been fascinated by the complexity of life. For this reason, it is vital to write high-quality essays that are interesting and memorable. With over 40 years of experience, I have read over a million college admission essays, including essays while Dean of Admissions at both Columbia and Harvard.
My experience enables me to help students write successful college essays. Through guidance and feedback, I will help you transform your essays into creative, powerful stories. With stronger essays, you are more likely to stand out from the thousands of other applicants—improving your chance of acceptance. For more information, call or On paper, I am by no means a perfect student. However, thanks to my Application Positioning, I was able to maximize the strengths that I bring to a college to compensate for other factors.
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