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Among the large pile of essays that arrived this spring, four stood out. These essays from high school seniors dared to address the issue of money, work and social class in the college application essay.
I had a beautiful childhood and I made lots of memories because I got the opportunity.I recall when I was 6 years old, my mum’s vacuum cleaning float filled every room. I adored that house and how all the windows allowed light to sparkle into every room. Anytime I felt like I needed to read, magazines and books were always an arm’s stretch away. The house I so much loved and every item and experience I had was because my mum was the cleaning lady.
Having become refugees 20 years ago, my mum and dad had to find odd jobs. When I was born, my mother decided to try something different. She advertised her cleaning services and luckily enough, she found a couple who were interested. They were both professors and soon after became her first client. Our family depended on their house and despite the economic changes that came and went, my mum continued to work for them. She has over the years worked tirelessly for the family from cleaning, cooking, vacuuming and gardening.
The professors were rarely home. I could only pick traces of their presence from how they could use and leave things in the house. I decided to read to from the library, watch the news. I decided to live their lives and make their home my sanctuary. I found the interesting article on Barack Obama, an immigrant who had dreams to become Americas president. I was inspired and motivated. The lives of these professors directed my elements of success and since then I have wanted to create my own story.
It is because my mother never stopped using the vacuum that today I have the opportunity to drive to school. I owe my mother’s efforts to where I am today and I appreciate her effort and determination to help me realize my dreams. I believe that someday, I will inspire her life too.
The society disregards manners towards service workers. Throughout my childhood, I learnt the habit of preparing the table for breakfast and any other family meal. I was also taught the importance of being polite to strangers and to maintain silence in the presence of a guest. I actually learnt everything about hospitality and mannerism and I was taught to stick to it. One time, I was late for my fifth birthday simply because I had to wait for a gust to arrive five hours later without an apology. I learnt the hardships of housekeeping in which guests could stain sheets, clog toilets, lock themselves out and still expect a discount.
The difference between service workers and clients is the imbalance of power. No one actually notices the effort that service workers put into their jobs. I always believed my parents were too much of masochists. I realize the culture of injustice that has crippled the society. I realized that sexism, racism, classism and all sorts of seclusion have created a lack of balance in everyday interactions. I therefore became passionate about service, justice and voluntary service. I like to help people. I worked in the public service and made my parents a lot prod in the process. I have learnt that helping others is such a noble and fulfilling course.
I was thrilled to received fully paid tuition for 4 years,$20 a week , a free summer trip and a laptop. Owning a laptop was my biggest dream. I felt like I could do anything, access numerous opportunities and success. I notified my mum of the package I had gotten and I felt excitement at the idea that she was proud of me. I got a Dell laptop, for me it was the best thing.
The problem began with my laptop. I could not fit as everyone owned a Macbook. Every time I went to the library, I could feel the alienation that came with my heavy laptop. At Andover, the students came from wealthier families and those with laptops like mine were only those that received scholarships that came with free items like the Dell laptop. The social class gap was massive and no matter how hard I tried, I could not fill it. Being white did not make it any easier; I would not afford the occasional concert tickets. Everyone’s understanding of the other was solely pivoted on the type of laptop one carried around. It made it impossible to brush the thought.
When my Dell laptop broke, I couldn’t afford another so I borrowed a Macbook form the school. Things began to change, I wasn’t worried anymore but I had lost a part of my identity. There are many hidden stories behind the Dell and the Macbooks that my classmates posed. The cultural, economic and racial perceptions that are shaped by class.
I simply love nature. I love how it connects us with tranquility, with the wild, with our thoughts and our intuitions. I live in between the suburban and rural land. The experiences of the seasons create the complexities of beautiful experiences. I can clearly see how the diverse yet bordered environs struggle to co-exist. Sometimes there is rain, then there is drought. When there is smoke, we hope it is not a wildfire.
I also experience and live around political discourse. When the surrounds change, people coil or stretch to fit within these conditions. They either celebrate or lament about the state of affairs. We still have to face the urban and rural existence. Back at home, we enjoy the paved streets, interact with those around and closest to us, making merry and enjoying the moments. We have the power to make the changes we seek on nature. The distinction reminds me of the childhood and the unknown stories of my adult life. I have to find balance in the story between .I hope college will give me the balance on the new edge.
New York Times. ‘4 Standout College Application Essays on Work, Money and Class’.May12,