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Day 33: Giving Advice to My Younger Self

Day 33:  Giving Advice to My Younger Self

TODAY’S STATS

# of pages written: 5

# of days left to write 1st draft: 130

The other day I wrote about how I love tutoring teenage boys, and I just want to say that I am not sexist. I also love tutoring teenage girls, just in a different way. All of the girls I tutor remind me, in one way or another, of myself when I was their age. This is both fascinating and heartbreaking, and I often feel like I’m giving advice to my younger self.

Right now I’m tutoring a seventeen-year-old who, like me at seventeen, is a hard-working perfectionist who wants to go into acting. I’ve been helping her study for the ACT’s, but today we talked about her college essay. “I wish I had my essay to show you,” I told her. “I wrote about going to a concert.”

To be more specific, my college essay was about being nearly crushed to death at a Less Than Jake show when I was sixteen. There was probably was some sort of point or larger theme, but I don’t remember what it was, and that essay is long lost, so I guess I’ll never quite know what my teenage brain was thinking. On the drive home from tutoring, I decided I would compose a new college essay (on something I might have written about when I was in high school). I’ll show it as an example to my dear protege when I see her next week.

What do you guys think of his essay? Do you think it would get me into college?

Eva’s Fake College Application Essay:

When I was twelve I tried to brainwash myself. I’d recently heard about subliminal messages, so one night I sat upstairs in my room with a tape recorder and made a 90-minute tape that I planned to listen to in my sleep. I recorded myself saying things like “you will pass every ball to the target” and “all your serves will go over the net” and “you will jump high and follow-through on your hits.”

I had just joined the girls’ volleyball team at my middle school, and I was desperate to become a better volleyball player. In addition to going to practice, I did wall-sits while I was talking on the phone, and I bumped the ball against the outside of the house during my every spare moment. I wasn’t sure if the subliminal messages would help, but I figured they couldn’t hurt.

And I did get better at volleyball. In eighth grade I was one of the stars of the middle school team, and after eighth grade, I made a spot on the competitive high school team. My ninth grade year, I put everything I had into volleyball. But there was one problem: my body. I was only five-foot-five and a hundred pounds – by far the smallest girl on the team. I couldn’t block or spike the way the taller girls could, and no matter how much I worked out in the weight room, my serves were still wimpy. In games, my coach would sub me in only to play the back row. As soon as I rotated to the net, she would take me out and put in one of the Amazon girls from my team.

But I didn’t let that deter me. I pushed myself hard during every practice and dove for the ball so many times my legs were covered in bruises and “strawberries” – what we called the pink spots on our knees from when we skidded across the squeaky gym floor. I felt like I was getting better every day. I knew I’d never be able to spike the way six-foot Gina could, but I could dig a ball out of the net, or run and dive for a ball about to drop in the corner of the court. Unlike some of the other girls who slacked off a little during practice, I was always giving one hundred percent. Unfortunately, my coach never seemed to noticed how hard I was working, or how I had talents that could help the team. It seemed like all of her attention went to the taller girls and their awesome spikes. More and more often, I found myself warming the bench for entire games.

“Why don’t you quit?” my friends asked me.

“Because I love volleyball,” I said. And I did. I loved exerting myself. I loved playing as a team. Even if my coach didn’t notice me, I knew I was improving.

On our last game my freshman year, I was sure that the coach would play me. I hadn’t missed a single practice, and I’d been working so hard all season. I sat on the bus on the way to the game, jittery with excitement. She didn’t put me in right away, but I thought she might sub me in halfway through. I waited on the bench and cheered for my teammates. We won the first game, and I thought maybe she would start me in the second game. But she didn’t. The second game continued, and I glanced at her every now and again. Had she forgotten about me? I jumped up, clapping and screaming when Gina hit an ace, but I wished I was jumping on the court and not at the bench. The coach never did put me in. Everyone else on the team played that day except me. When we won the match, I cheered and gave my teammates high-fives, but secretly I wanted to cry.

When we got back to school, it was dark, and I saw my mother’s car waiting for me in the parking lot. As I stepped off the bus, my coach called to me. “Eva! I need to talk to you.”

My heart plunged into my stomach. She sounded mad.

“You bust your butt at every practice,” she said. “You work just as hard – if not harder – than every girl on this team, and I just want you to know that I know that. I’m sorry I didn’t play you tonight. I promise you’ll see some playing time next year, OK?”

I thanked her and jogged to my mother’s car. I could barely control the giant grin spreading across my face. I’ve always been a hard worker. I put one hundred percent of myself into the things I care about, and I’m always thinking of creative ways to improve (like giving myself subliminal messages.) I know that I will work hard whether anyone notices my hard work or not. But sometimes, it is nice to be noticed.  

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About evalangston

Eva Langston is a writer, among other things.

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