"Changing Lives" - my college application essay; can serve as a model for others who don't know how to write one. Got me into Hamilton, Colgate, and others.

Essay by Banquo7High School, 12th grade January 2004

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"I change lives." Whenever I feel as if I have become just another animate lump of carbon, an indistinguishable number within the masses, nothing reaffirms my self-confidence than those three simple words. After all, it is not every 17 year-old that can honestly make such an assertion; most teenagers are grocery store clerks, waiters and waitresses, stock boys, and every other clichéd teenage mode of employment. But not me...

Instead I wake up bright and early every Saturday morning, brusquely roused by my deviously effective alarm clock. By some means I manage to haul my inherently inert mass out of the covers, and following an invariably meager breakfast, bungle my way from home to the oppressively muggy climate of the school pool. Inside, I am always slightly doubtful that I will make it through another eight-hour work day, as I hastily gather and take notes upon my papers.

Just in time to prevent my escape through a convenient rear exit, however, they arrive - the kids; an enthusiastic exchange of high-fives follows, then into the pool with the lot of us. Ironically, regardless of whatever mood I previously found myself in, by this time I am invariably cheerful and optimistic - it is my responsibility to be part of the team of influences that shapes each toddler-sized metaphorical lump of clay. In a forty-five minute lesson, each child requires different techniques; some need constant appraisal to bolster confidence; others require that specific toy to persuade them; all necessitate an uncompromising standard of safety; yet, despite such necessary accommodations, most hurdles are easily overcome. The good days, though, are those that challenge, those that demand more; every child unable to leave his mother's side, to submerge himself, to simply be independent - they all call for an extra effort.