Sunday, December 27, 2009

Since I never got to use it...

Here's the essay I planned to submit with my Yale app, and an addendum with some thought that wouldn't quite fit. (It's unedited and unrevised. So don't laugh at me.)

Listening to this song while you read it would be appropriate.

My teacher asked our Social Studies class if we knew any veterans or servicemen. A few kids raised their hands and said that their grandfathers had fought in World War II or their parents had fought in Vietnam. When she called on me, I started listing names.

“My great-grandfather fought in World War I. He worked on the railways that were built to bring supplies and troops to the front lines. My uncle Bob was stationed in Germany after World War II. And my aunt is a colonel in the Air Force. She went into the Second Gulf War right after my cousin was born.” I explained all of this matter-of-factly. My aunt and uncle enlisted because they wanted college money, and my great-grandfather had been drafted. None had much of a choice.

When my teacher started talking about how proud we all should be of our military relatives, I was somewhat confused. I thought of myself as fairly patriotic. I took the Pledge of Allegiance seriously each morning and identified my ethnicity as simply “American”. I never thought, though, about what that meant.

Two years ago, two cousins joined the military. Sue enrolled in the Naval Academy and Charlie went to Parris Island, South Carolina, for his training to be a Marine. There was a period of two months when Sue was at Plebe Summer and Charlie was at Parris Island during which we barely heard from either of them. I wrote a letter to Charlie telling him I hoped training wasn’t too hard. In the letter I got back, Charlie wrote in small, slanted handwriting that the worst part was the heat.

I later found out that at Parris Island, they put new recruits through hell—they run them hard and force them to push through workouts with little food and sleep. Charlie only told us that the worst part was the heat.

At the end of the summer, Sue was a midshipman and Charlie was a Marine. For a long time, I didn’t understand why they would willingly join the military. I knew that both had been put through tough conditions. Yes, they both succeeded, but why had they joined at all?
I understand now. I have pictures of Sue and Charlie in their dress uniforms at their respective ceremonies. Their uniforms are both navy blue and buttoned securely right up to their necks. But the most essential similarity between them is the look in their eyes. They aren’t just my cousins any more, aren’t just twenty-somethings trying to have fun. They are soldiers. They have been charged with fighting for this country to the death if need be, and I can’t help but be proud. While Charlie was going through I would consider torture, his only complaint was that South Carolina was hot in the middle of summer. When I see them in those pictures, I feel a patriotism that reaches far beyond saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I am proud that my country embodies virtues like democracy and freedom to such an extent that people are willing to fight for it.

I know some people who read this will scoff and point to the HUGE MAJOR problems with the US today. Don't get me wrong, I strongly agree that they exist. (I'm a feminist. and pro-choice. and a ---.) And I think they should be addressed. But we have it so fucking good here. The US military does do good things. No, the US doesn't have the best foreign policy track record. There are so many things we have here, though, that you couldn't find anywhere else.

Monday, November 16, 2009


My own inability to just take the plunge and GET IT DONE already is driving me insane.

In my defense, there are good reasons for waiting. but still.

Also: I am now addicted to grey's anatomy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dear Maine

Stop this nonsense right now. This is ridiculous. VOTE NO ALREADY.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I feel like such a genius.

The NYT has a blog called The Choice, which is about college admissions. They've had a series of posts recently with the Director of Admissions at Harvard answering commenters' questions. In one of them, he mentioned that lots of parents write their kids' essays for them, and the very first comment on the post was about how parents should be able to play a big role in their kids' apps because of the money they're going to spend. My comment was that parents should step back and let their kids take responsibility.

In his most recent post, he referred to my comment and later said that readers should heed my advice.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I was worried about tennis this year. My doubles hadn't improved much, and I thought that my chance to play was in doubles.

But then practices started, and I was kind of sucking at doubles. Seriously.

After one of our practice/ladder matches, my usual partner asked if I wanted to hit with her for a while. She thought that she would do better at singles than doubles. I said yes, and we went out to the court. After we had started playing, our coach told us to play a set.

Now let me say that last year, I wouldn't have had a chance against this girl, I don't think. She could overpower me to the point that I couldn't do anything at all with her shots.

But I won the set, 6-1.

The next day at practice, coach had me hit with a girl--let's call her Ducky, since she sort of walks like a duck. Ducky is a year below me, and she played first singles on JV my sophomore year. She is a huge pain in the butt to play with, since her form is terrible. Like, textbook what not to do. But she is insanely consistent, which is how she managed to both beat everyone and frustrate the hell out of all of us. Last year, she was our third singles player on varsity. Coach hated having her play. Her form was embarrassing to him as a professional tennis coach.

Basically, this all added up and made me want to beat her really really badly.

6-1. YES.

Then coach gave me the first compliment ever.* "Nice playing," he said.

If I can beat her again, I have a chance to play third singles this year (*knocks on wood*).

This makes me so happy.

*He then proceeded to tell me all the things I needed to work on, but he usually skips the compliment part, so I feel like it was an improvement!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I really don't want this blog to become shrouded in secrecy, but I decided it's not really in my best interest for any random person on teh internets to know where I go to college. So I've deleted or edited posts about the college search so they're not as explicit about where I want. The college I spent time at earlier this summer will henceforth be known as First Choice School, or FCS. Any other colleges will be described ambiguously.


Eight application fees: $555

Two tries at the SAT REasoning test: $90

Three SAT Subject tests: $57

Sending SAT scores: $76

Five AP tests: $430

Two IB tests: $305

Spending over 1500 bucks so I can get into college is so not cool I don't even know where to begin.

And this doesn't even begin to include the incredible emotional, mental, and physical toll that going through all of this exacts on you.