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Common Application Essay

“Well, nothing worth having ever comes easy.” That was the sort of good-natured response I would expect to get from my mother, had she been present for this current meltdown. My earphones in place, I scanned half halfheartedly though the clips of scene four with a fleeting prayer that some of the raw footage would still be useable. The Mac screen helped to amplify my stress by pointing out that I had close to 25 minutes before my six week project was required to turn in, completed or nay. Though some self-proclamation of defeat seemed the quickest way to break the tension of the situation, my mind remained fixated on that old saying my mother often applied to family troubles. Its  message so vintage, it remained  appropriate for past and future alike. It also marked a resounding impact in both of our lives as we came to understand what it personally meant to both decide what was worth having, and how to go about acquiring it.

In second grade I would often sneak into her room after school on her days off and watch her from the other side of the bed. Hunched over a heap of paperwork, her hair continually fell over her bent shoulders and obscured her face. She sat with her full concentration devoted to the many handouts held in her hands, decked out in the glowing rainbow of blue and yellow highlighted terms. Back then, I didn't like what school was doing to my mother. It gifted her with sleepless nights and cultivated a growing anxiety within her. Putting down her pencil  and taking up my stepfather's  hand one afternoon, she asked, almost imploringly, “am I too old for college?”Watching my mother dive deeper into her studies, a growing sense of neglect  began to take its toll on my academic performance. A C average in second grade became  a slew of D's and F's throughout third and fourth. Neglecting to see a positive relevance to school when I saw it as responsible for my mother's detachment from my life, it had become a scapegoat for my anxiety.

It wasn't until I became aware of Wasatch Academy, that my understanding of education began to re-invent itself in my brain.Taking a tour of the facilities with a friend,  my head swiveled back and forth all the while. From the dark red brick walls to the carved wooden staircase, I felt completely out of my element in that shining beacon of adolescent education. That night I took my mother aside and popped the question. “Do you think...I could go to Wasatch?”  I watched her nervously as her mouth grew taunt. “Oh honey,” she said, awkwardly. “I don't know.” Staring at her, suddenly, I understood.  Seeing her strive at the age of 38 to 42 in an effort to improve her own vitality, I had focused only on the negatives. I had held school responsible for my mother's stress and detachment from my life and at the same time disregarded the new unbarred  opportunity it brought her. Using this excuse to justify my own esteem in school, I had given up trying for my own future. I understood then that the only thing stopping me from boarding school was financial support, and  from that, were the desirable grades. At that moment I realized  that I would, like her, be required to pull my own weight for any hope of working my life differently.

With the suggestion of boarding school, I buckled down in seventh grade. I approached my work rationally, rather than projecting my emotions, and grew strong in my academic record. Every report card and positive teacher letter sent home found its way to Wasatch's admissions. The summer of my eighth grade year,  I was accepted and honored with a weighty scholarship.

Wasatch did not fail to meet my expectations. With under 250 students, my teachers commonly worked with nine or ten kids per class. They clearly loved their subjects and, though their enthusiasm and joke-cracking, wanted us to succeed. The steep contrast between that embrace of fruitful learning, where my public schools had regarded it more as a job, marveled me. Rigorous work became a delightful challenge and I learned to love learning for its own sake. My new regard for diligence kept me steady as further opportunity for independence added to my growing responsibility in keeping up both class work and budding interest in a handful of extra curriculars. I had achieved a sense of wholeness that now assures me, when confronted with the dauntingly unordinary, that I  can adapt and embrace change.

Realizing that the audio quality had passed beyond the help of Final Cut Pro, I plucked out my headphones and dislocatedmy camera from the hard drive. My mother's words still circulating though my brain, I sat in my swivel chair and reflected briefly on the impact of her personal struggle upon my own educational revolution. Part of it lay in  her own relentless character, which held me at high enough standard for me to then expect more out of myself. However, the real gem was in her determination to take hold of her life, the good and bad, working with what she could still control, and meeting her own expectations. My acceptance to Wasatch matched her  acceptance of a college degree, the two of us  now able to fully realize the worth of persistence and determination  when dealing with our own lives. It is a path one can't reallybreak from, once one starts on it. After all, my life, and ambition, didn't simply end when I went to boarding school. Feeling a replenish of new resolve, I pried my sleepy legs out of the chair and shouldered the camera strap. I made my way to the technician's office and knew, with any luck, that the voices of my two characters could be dubbed and adjusted before I had to call it quits.