My College Essay, By: CheriB

As  I mentioned in a previous post, I had no real plans for college after graduation. I was a free spirit (read lazy) and was going to play it by ear. I was going to Israel for a year and I was most interested in having some time off with no pressure to figure things out. I wasn’t even taking the year for credit.

There was a recruiter for college that worked at my seminary; hook, line and sinker baby. I was a prime candidate. She saw me a mile away and was super friendly and asked what my plans for the future were. Um, what plans? She gently offered a direction that I was still not too sure about, college. Isn’t that for kids in the ‘Y’ class? (I was in the ‘X’ class).  See the chart below if necessary.

She convinced me to pop into her office and fill out an application, have a discussion (read interview) and see if I would even get in. Very sneaky, see she posed it as a challenge. I was just dumb enough to believe that. I thought she was just being nice and friendly. So in I went with a friend.

Background: This was my second year of seminary. I completely blew off the first one not taking  tests for credit, not caring about grades.  I was learning about life, man. I even failed a class called ‘Emunah’ which on principle I am opposed to. That’s just not possible, since I’m a believer.  The first year I never lifted a book. I would meet up with friends or basically hang out.    The second year however, most of my friends left the country and so I decided to go with THE.BIGGEST.BOOK.LEFT.BEHIND. Gone with the Wind. My friends all laughed saying I’d never be able to commit. For realz? I was so far in the South that my Rebbe would scream up the stairs begging me to put the book down and return to class after the break. I would beg to finish the paragraph. This book hugely influenced my future.  So much so that on that very day when I started my college application it was all I could think about, getting back to read more.

I was thrilled when I reached the essay question: Name a book that has most influenced your life and why.  I had this in the bag!  I wrote pages comparing my life with that of Scarlett O’Hara!

She and I had been through a war (Okay mine didn’t include any dresses made out of curtains and a love-story, but still)! I wrote and wrote until my hand hurt. I read it over and over and just knew I’d be getting into college. That acceptance letter was golden.

Sure enough I got bored with just hanging out and decided to go back to NY. I did very well and while most of my friends were forced to take English Comp. I and II,  I was exempt. Booyah! Take that- ‘X’ class. Not to discredit my high-school placement system but seriously a little effort on their part may have helped me along the way. What is it with Guidance? Unless someone is seriously troubled, disturbed or violent they don’t reach out to students. I floated by. But NO more!

The second I got off the plane I looked for my mom and begged her to take me to the video store to rent the movie. Suffice it to say I was disappointed for 2 reasons.

  1.  It was TWO tapes!!! Imagine that, 1037 pages could not fit on one tape.
  2. It was in black and white. So archaic.

Margaret Mitchell so eloquently described every scene so vividly that I could almost feel the heat of the fire. I could see the huge plantation when I closed my eyes, so when I watched the video my heart sank a bit. From that day forward I knew I’d love reading. If there is a movie out today, I’d rather watch it before reading the book or it can’t compare at all. It happened with the movie The Firm. Great book, lame movie. However, I had friends that only saw the movie and raved about it! One’s imagination is a gift that keeps on giving and has an endless bounty of fortune. No one can ever take it away. It is priceless and helpful and always available.

My mind, thanks to Margie, had taken me to places that I’d never been. After reading the sequel written by a different but just as expressive author I was all about going to Ireland. I even started reading with a brogue! Little known fact: There are thirty-two Irish accents. I’m fairly certain I used them all together without meaning to! Since then, not only have I loved escaping into worlds beyond my own I have loved learning other languages. I have mastered the art of conversational Pig Latin too. The talent never ends folks.

It is with enthusiasm and voices that I continue to read. My children find me most entertaining. If anyone asked me to date the best book I’ve ever read, it would be hands down Gone With The Wind, but next to that, comes a close second with Henry Winkler’s Niagra Falls Or Does It? It’s the only one of the set so far that we’ve read but I am sure the FONZ will come through for us.

I highly recommend these 2 books. I would even suggest them to the ND book club. I was once a part of one here.  I’m also fairly certain I got kicked out…or they disbanded which would make me feel a lot better about not receiving the group emails anymore. I know there is a new one that’s been formed since.  Somehow I think they are reading more thought provoking material, which I have no time for, clearly.


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