Millennials. Extraordinary?

Participation Trophy

Millennials are confident. We’ve been told that we are winners just for showing up. We get prizes and trophies for participating. We are told that we are special and different and wonderful. We are told this is a bad thing. We are told that these are lies. We are told we can’t all be extraordinary. But let me say this:

Even the word “extraordinary” has ordinary within it. Each individual essentially begins the same. A babbling, buoyant, but uneducated baby: raw potential. What sets an individual apart is not an inherent difference, but rather the way their raw potential is cultivated. It is this cultivation of youth that allows our society to advance and individuals to attain remarkable success and achieve extraordinary accomplishments. Therefore, it is logical that to realize Continue reading

Comfy Corner of the Couch

Another college essay revisited. Traveling, and graduating in general, has had me thinking a lot about comfort and independence. This short essay that I wrote for my Notre Dame application focuses on the security and comfort of my home, represented by my favorite spot on the couch. I maintain that I am extraordinarily lucky to have had the privilege of such a comfortable, secure, and loving childhood home.

The corner of the couch: where the springs sag just right and the cushions, soft from years of wear, embrace me. Between the cushions I find old cheerios, long lost Nerf darts, and a small fortune in monopoly money left by my younger brothers. This spot is equated with comfort. This is the spot I seek out to do calculus homework that seems impossible. The spot where I curl up to talk with my best friend. The spot where I sit when my family watches a movie together. This spot allows me to unwind, relax, connect. Sitting in the corner of the couch I consider the safety and security of my life: the supportive friends who are always on my side, the stable family I was blessed to be born into, the home I live in, beautiful because of the love it contains. I consider how good fortune and the grace of God have held me in comfort through my life like the corner of the couch.

Being away from home, and making choices on my own, I’ve learned that another important aspect of comfort is independence. Even though FOMO gets to me occasionally, I’m learning that I’m much happier and much more comfortable when I am independent and do what is right for me. Its an exercise in listening to the quiet voice in your head that loves you.

That little voice usually knows what is best for you. And if that voice is saying you need to go out on a Thursday, or eat ice cream for dinner, I would suggest you comply. But conversely, if that little voice recommends going to bed a 8:30 or going for a run alone instead of joining happy hour,  its probably wise to listen.

 

Carpe Diem

A college essay revisited. I’m not quite sure what the prompt was. I’ve bolded the parts that I would echo today and added some commentary in italics at the end.

Carpe Diem

Life is full of clichés, “live like you’re dying”, “carpe diem”, “and “shoot for the stars”. These little pieces of encouragement and inspiration infiltrate our lives, but at their core, they are almost contradictory. Throughout life people are faced with the choice between following a short term whim and working toward a long term goal. Ultimately it is a balance of these two conflicting possibilities that affords the fullest quality of life.

Spontaneity is an essential part of living a fulfilling life. The phrase “live like you’re dying” seemingly encourages acting on impulse and satisfying short-term goals. Though these impulses may occasionally come at the cost of a longer term goal, they are usually beneficial. The ability to be spontaneous and enjoy random and unpredictable moments in life is what differentiates humans from machines or animals focused solely on survival. Emotion, passion and delight are forces that one must reconcile with logic and reason as a human being. It is these same forces however, that give us the ability to experience life beyond the ordinary and routine. The gratification of a whim or impulse has an unpredictable impact on one’s life, often taking them on a winding journey of discovery. These discoveries may include new relationships, unforeseen successes, or even advancement toward a long term goal. Life’s unpredictable nature ultimately makes choices based on impulse, whims, and short-term pleasure reasonable and necessary.

While decisions made on impulse or whims are beneficial, one must also maintain long term goals and aspirations. Goals focused in the future give one a sense of direction and purpose as they navigate various obstacles throughout life. These goals eventually become the heart of our life’s purpose. A long term goal helps to sustain focus, foster responsibility and develop character as one must overcome adversity and devote themselves to achieving this long-term success. Additionally a long-term goal lends a sense of higher purpose to the mundane decisions of everyday life and can help one to avoid rash and reckless actions. The cliché “stand for something or you will fall for anything” exemplifies this philosophy. On the whole, if one has no direction, they are likely to simply follow the crowd and float through life never achieving greatness. Therefore long-term goals should be well thought-out, individualized, and approached with zeal. Though short-term goals create the embellishments on a life, long term goals and successes are the fabric upon which they are created.

Thus life should be a combination of short term whims and impulses that enrich the journey one embarks on to achieve long term successes. The clichés that permeate daily life, though seemingly conflicted, indeed offer words of wisdom. It is, in fact, possible to “live like you’re dying” and to “shoot for the stars” as both impulses and focused goals are essential to a fulfilling life. Ultimately neither can exist alone and our objective should become to live each day “carpe diem,” to “seize the day” simultaneously putting forth effort toward long term dreams and aspirations while snatching moments of impulse as they appear.

SO. Upon re-reading this attempt at wisdom from my teenaged self, I think that this essay is one giant cliche. There are a few points that I think are well made (go me!) but ultimately I would send this essay through some serious re-writes at this point. 

On a completely unrelated note… I would love some feedback! Would anyone at all want to see more old college essays? Would anyone want to see a re-write? Let me know?

College Essay Revisited

In many ways, the coming weeks and months constitute the “freshman year” of my “adult” life. As such, I thought that it would be fitting to revisit some of the essays that I wrote for college applications.

As a 17 year old high school student, universities all over the country asked me to reflect on my aspirations, values, and the world around me. Five years later I’ll share those insights of my 17 year old self and add some commentary.

Stay tuned for posts tagged “college essays revisited”