Opening the Door

Topic of your choice - common application.


When I was eleven, I lived in a trailer park full of kids. I preferred reading and writing to playing with them, so pretty often, when they knocked on the door, I would pretend I was doing chores. Then I would resume reading Harry Potter and writing my dinosaur adventure story in peace.

A lot has changed since then. I’m no longer homeschooled, my family is no longer on food stamps, and I read Dostoevsky as well as J. K. Rowling. I’ve gained and lost a Southern accent; I’ve experienced the savagery of public middle school and also sampled rural-style homeschooling where a day herding cows counted as Home Ec. I’ve met the other half of my family, Sicilians who speak no English, and I too quickly concluded I was nothing like them.

Over the course of a secondary school career in a New England Catholic boarding school, I’ve watched every high school stereotype I know be systematically disproved. Cheerleaders and jocks aren’t always shallow and mean; nerds aren’t always unsung heroes; class elections don’t have to be popularity contests. Peer pressure just as often favors the right choices.

I have witnessed and experienced, at boarding school, the paradoxes of the human condition. I’ve learned that priests can be simultaneously raunchy...

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