The blank screen with the taunting black cursor blinks back at you, telling you to give up. I know this feeling on a very personal level. One of the more iconic moments of this was when I had to write my college essay. I had procrastinated it for weeks and had entered crunch time.It was the day before the due date and I had yet to start it. After lacrosse practice I had to sit down and actually take a crack at it. I began my normal post practice ritual of showering and eating because we all know were hungry and smell terrible after a long practice. Once I had finally finished filling my needs of a meal and a shower, I sat down to get the essay done. After spending hours of starting the same sentence over and over again getting frustrated at the computer screen. After sitting around for so long I decided to ask myself how the moment that I was writing about really made me feel. The words flowed on to the screen and I started working my way to finish the essay.
In the summers I have a full time job of being a surf coach. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing little kids faces light up when they finally catch a wave all the way to the beach. Due to this job I was given the opportunity to work with paraplegics and take them surfing. When I would watch these people ride waves all the way to the beach I realized that they have to overcome so many hardships and that it was simply inspiring to see them work through all of their hardships to simply ride a wave to the beach. It was such a rewarding experience that I knew I had to write my college essay about it. What was not an amazing sight was actually watching me write it.
After spending countless hours of putting my heart into my college essay I finally turned it into my AP english teacher. At my school we were given the opportunity to write our essays for college during the class and have our teacher look it over and give us feedback. Now for a little image this english teacher was an old guy that had this flowing mullet of gray hair. David Lavender was his name and he would growl at freshman when he would see them on their phones instead of reading books. He was my english teacher for two years and he never got to know me as a student. Which really came into play when I asked him to look over my college essay.
Growing up I was always the struggling child with writing and reading. I would have to go to the classes that would give you extra help. Writing in my eyes was always an obligation that was something that had to be done in order to get a grade. I would sit at the computer for hours on end just staring at a blank screen. I would push essays off to the last minute because it would frustrate me so much that I wouldn’t even want to finish it. A big part of my frustration would be how many writing rules there are and how you have to follow them so closely. Also, that we were taught that you have to follow a very precise structure.
For once I was finally proud of a paper, I had put my heart into my college essay. The moment that I realized that my AP english didn’t actually know me was when he came back with my college essay after editing it. He gave me so much advice on how to “fix it” that the essay started to sound more like him then it did me. It was the first time that I felt like I couldn’t speak up in my writing. That was one of the most frustrating moments of my life. I had reached a point where I had to stop asking him for help and listen to myself as a writer.
Writing hasn’t ever been my strong suit; to fill that gap, I was always a huge reader. When I was growing up my parents were both always reading and once I could finally start reading and understanding books. I would feel like such a big kid. After reading the essay Superman and Me Sherman Alexei mentions, “My father loved to read therefore I did as well”. This statement really hit home because I really got into reading because of the same reason. The older I got the more I realized that I would spend more time then more with my nose in a good book then holding and Xbox controller. My reading preferences haven’t really changed since I’ve grown up. I was always interested in fiction books. The way that they take you to another place and give up time away from your life. With reading I never really felt that frustration that I would experience when I would be writing an essay.
My writing wouldn’t be where it is today without the help of two teachers that really changed my life. In third grade I had a teacher named Mrs. Smith, her husband happened to be the principal of the school they were the power couple. This woman was the one that built my foundation for writing. Once I had moved on from third grade she followed our class till about sixth grade helping us behind the scene pull off essays. The next teacher who really changed the way I wrote was my freshman and sophomore English teacher. He was a prematurely balding 27 year old guy, who if he took his glasses off he would go cross-eyed. In all his goofiness aside he was the type of teacher that always believed that you could produce great things no matter how terrible the first draft of your essay is. Mr. Jones was his name he was the hardest grader, if you gave him an essay you were automatically expected to get a C back on it. In the moment it would be the most frustrating feeling in the entire world because you didn’t think that it was ever helping you. In the end by using perseverance and working through the class it made me a stronger writer. In reality, when someone asks if I truly enjoy writing I always look at them as if they were crazy.
The only time that I got the sense of reward from my writing was on my college essay. After tireless hours of writing, editing, revising it was such a reward to get into the colleges that I applied to. It was that I realized that no matter how much advice you can get from even the most brilliant person in the world there is nothing more important than listening to yourself. I guess you could say that I wouldn’t be sitting on this beautiful little campus without writing.