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 Ellei's essay on....um...dunno.

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PostSubject: Ellei's essay on....um...dunno.   Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:31 am

As a child, I thought I held the world in the palm of my hand – a plaything that I knew as intimately as I knew myself. In some ways, I think that all children have the same sort of feeling; it is as if there could not possibly be more to this life than your own heart and the things it beats for. Growing up, my perception slowly shifted as I became more and more aware of just how immense the world around me was. Not only was my backyard not the whole of the world, it wasn’t even a fraction of the places there were to see. At first the thought was scary, but soon my imagination was caught up in the glamour of bright lights and streets full of strangers.


Unfortunately, those streets full of strangers remained strange to me. I learned quickly that living in a small town meant spending your time with familiar people in the places that you’d been a thousand times before. Without the flashing lights of a city to surround me, I delved into books as a temporary escape from my real life, where I was likely to see more cows than people. It wasn’t that I didn’t love and cherish my family and friends; I only knew that there was much more waiting for me than I had yet seen. Another unfortunate thing that I discovered about my small town was that very few of the people around me cared about getting a good education. In my eighth grade class of 120 students, I was one of about three or four high-achieving students who were worried about getting into universities that were more selective than the local community colleges that most of their parents had attended, if they had ever enrolled in college at all. I constantly felt singled out for being a “nerd,” because of my love for reading and studying. The teachers loved me, of course, but even that worked against me, getting me the label of “teacher’s pet.” Finally, frustrated, my parents and I decided that I would go to a private college preparatory school that my mother’s brothers had attended.


My first day at my new school was almost a claustrophobic experience for me. Instead of wide public school halls full of students, I found myself in a class of about forty. For a while, I thought I had only made my situation worse and that I would be singled out even more in such a small school. Soon, though, I figured out why no one around me was making fun of me; they were all hard at work as well, trying to keep their grades up and studying for standardized tests. Even among these new friends, who really cared, I was still something of a spectacle. If anyone needed help after a class or if anyone was having trouble spelling a word, they always turned to me first. Now, though, the people around me looked up to me and tried to learn from me instead of waving me off as an oddity. It slowly dawned on me, now that I wasn’t alone in my need to achieve, that the call of the city was not a yearning for a certain location or thousands of irrelevant people. For me, the city symbolized a world where goals were set high and young people became true leaders of the future.


My mother often tells me that I’m a big fish in a small pond. Of course, she’s supposed to say things like that, as my mother, but I believe her more and more every day. From the day that my world folded out before me as more than the grass beneath me and the sky above, I knew that I wasn’t meant to live small. I want the best chance to learn and to grow that I can get, no matter how hard I have to work or what I have to sacrifice. I need the universe of opportunity that opens up when you surround yourself with people who share your passions. Rice University’s quality of education is what I’ve been looking for my entire life. I hope to bring to you the perspective of a student who is still amazed by the world around her and the things it can offer. I know that I will be surrounded by people who love knowledge as much as I do and will use it well, making a mark on whatever they may choose to do. I offer to you a young woman who will never settle or just get by, a young woman who cannot stand to sit around and stagnate in a place incapable of change. Rice seems like the perfect university, in its diversity and devotion to giving its students the best education it can, to start a life that will be full of opportunities for a student like me.

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