This is the essay I included with my college application. I’ve since traded Dawson’s Creek for Sex and the City and experienced less fear and more excitement within other life-altering moments.
I am an avid fan of Dawson’s Creek. One hour a week is devoted to watching the poorly acted and overly dramatic teenage soap opera. I am painfully aware of how unrealistic the show is — due to the gratuitous vocabulary in conversations between high school students and the all too abundant one-liners followed by graceful tears or forced laughter. Despite my avarice for Dawson Leery’s entire character and my giggles when one of the male characters begins to cry, I did shed my own tears when the series ended. My unconditional love for the show was inspired by the contemplation of my high school experience. As I recall the trials and tribulations of high school, I can readily identify with many situations in each Dawson’s Creek episode. Some of the questions that the characters ask themselves and each other force me to think long and hard. This time it was Dawson who surprised me into thoroughly thinking about a vague and somewhat generic question. He asked Joey, “What was your one most life-altering moment?” I stared at the screen with wide eyes, not even listening to her response, but trying to come up with my own.
I am so afraid of the future right now that I don’t know what to do with myself. I love the place that I am right here, right now. I love being a teenager with the power to drive, the power to break boys’ hearts, and the power to be whoever I want. I love having few responsibilities. I love walking into a school that I adore and having familiar faces around. I love that I go out every weekend with my friends until midnight. I love having money to spend frivolously as a result of a twenty hour a week babysitting job. I love shouting out my opinion and having everyone agree with me. I love how I am accepted by people around me even with all my flaws. I love spending time with a family who I am extremely close to. I love sitting in the sun at our cottage without a care in the world. I love going to church and being able to name every person sitting around me. I love the stable and unwavering aspects of my life.
I am afraid that when I move on from the life I have right now, that all those things I love will slowly melt away. The rest of my life starts soon, and I don’t know how I am going to handle that. I am so afraid to make a choice. I am afraid to move away from home. I am afraid to leave the friends that I have made over the past four years of my life. I am afraid to be on my own. I am afraid to hand in a paper without my mom being able to proofread it first. I am afraid to move out of the comfort zone that I have become so attached to. I am afraid of things that I do not even know I am afraid of yet.
Although I am haunted by the things I fear, I am constantly reminded of the things I love. When I step onto the UW Madison campus in the fall of 2004, I will finally move on from my old life. In a new and unfamiliar place, I will overcome all the things I fear. By being away from home, I will let go of the things I love so dearly. When I establish my independence as a college freshman, I will grow stronger. The high expectations and numerous opportunities at Madison will inspire my emotional and intellectual maturation. The diversity that I will experience on campus will help me develop into a more accepting and open minded individual. The woman I become will be a result of the goals I achieve and the obstacles that I overcome in Madison. With these unveiled insights, I will enjoy the life I have now and confidently await the future.
So what is my one most life-altering moment? I believe it’s right now, sitting here, deciding what my future will be. I have never had to make a decision so important that it will affect the rest of my life. Having to make the final decision of UW Madison, a choice that could make or break me, is my one most life-altering moment.