"The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself that you have not already shared in your application."

“Fearless!” I snatched the pack of watermelon gum from Michael’s hand.

“Oh great,” he said. Earlier that morning, a GHP teacher in my Word Congress class challenged us to pick a word that we felt was an important quality to have, then spend the next week attempting to embody it. I’d picked “fearless,” and had spent the day screaming out the word before doing something either frightful or downright questionable. Michael had been there to bear witness to it all, and now, his pack of gum was falling victim to my antics.

I unwrapped piece after piece, shoving them into my mouth. I’ll see if I can blow a bubble, I decided.

Something about me trying desperately to push the gooey bubble from inside my cheeks to outside using the sheer force of determination and my windpipe attracted a small crowd in a matter of minutes.

“Blow harder!” encouraged one. “Use your diaphragm!”

“Muh wha?”

Suddenly, I was getting encouragement from all sides, from a dozen strangers unified by two dozen pieces of gum. One boy even bounced my jaw up and down to make me chew when my teeth felt worn to the bone. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t blow a bubble.

“Ah guv ahp!” I declared, and spat the gigantic, saliva-oozing wad into a napkin. There was a...

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