By Chelsie Derman
Every few months I keep coming back to it: my college admissions essay.
I know, I know. You must be reading that statement with your eyebrows raised, in astonishment a college student wrote those words. But it’s true, whole-heartedly.
And to be honest, I wrote about “Harry Potter,” my all-time favorite series. I described my eleven-year-old self at my birthday party playing a scavenger hunt. There, my sister surprised me with a Hogwarts acceptance letter.
Yes, I wrote my essay on a fictional acceptance letter. But the essay took a turn from J.K. Rowing’s famous series, and discussed my love for writing.
It’s those words I wrote that make me keep coming back — to occasionally head to my laptop and search “Official College Essay,” the last draft of my furiously-edited admissions essay.
Last April I wandered to my college essay file. For no reason in particular — out of boredom, mostly, due to the Covid-19 outbreak — but the words within were impactful.
The essay itself reminded me what I live for—what my goals are. Mostly my goals nail down to one area: writing.
After rereading it during quarantine, a time where my life felt like it had no purpose, the words of my essay revived me back to life. Writing is my purpose — it always has been, it always will be.
In the essay, I wrote about how as a child, I wrote unfinished songs and stories. However, after reading “Harry Potter,” the series that made me love novels, it motivated me to write my own, finished stories — to have a drive to do so.
It’s that drive I need now. Sure, I wrote a novel, but how can I make an impact if I’m too afraid to share it with the world? If I make no attempt to send my story to a publisher, and instead keep waiting for the right moment? I need a drive to send my story somewhere. I need to listen to my pre-college self, to stay motivated and diligent.
During the pandemic, my drive snapped. Why should I work toward my dreams if the world’s just falling apart anyway? I felt discouraged and goal-less. I occasionally still wrote for fun, but I didn’t have much motivation during those first couple of months.
But out of a mix of one of my classes during the spring semester where we watched motivational movies, as well as rereading my admissions essay that basically outlined my goals, I began to focus on what I loved most — creative writing. And my mood drastically improved: I felt myself becoming much more happier and goal-driven than I had been in weeks.
Now, I’m not saying you should revisit your college admissions essay, too. But find something — anything — that will help motivate you. Is there an object that generates memories? Is there some project that you felt proud of?
Search for that one thing that will motivate you. Who knows — maybe it will propel you to remember why you're working toward your dreams in the first place. And maybe, like myself, it will remind you to keep on fighting — to not let go of your aspirations.