/ Solving puzzles in my life - Personal Narrative essay on an accomplishment, event, or realization
Puzzles- Personal Narrative Prompt #5Prompt- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Any critiques or advice is greatly appreciated! I am especially worried about the essay being too cliché, "corny", or coming off in a "bragging" manner. Any ways in which I can elevate this are helpful.
Last night, I was awake far later than I would have liked. Just after midnight, I was stuck trying to determine what five letter thing Warren Buffet is the "oracle of." Enigmatic puzzles, like the crossword I was working on, have entranced me since before I can remember: my father calling out newspaper crossword clues over breakfast, my siblings sharing logic puzzles from class, even disentanglement puzzles which I was particularly partial to as a toddler. This infatuation has led me to perceive any problems that I and others face as puzzles, some with unambiguous solutions, others more complex.
As I grew, my curious relationship with puzzles stuck with me; I was adept at solving puzzles in my life, but I struggled to solve puzzles that others encountered. I attended protests, spoke to city councils and boards, led community forums, worked with activists, and did research. These experiences allowed me to catch glimpses of puzzles that beset different people. Supporting humanitarian causes was hardwired in me, but I struggled to execute change and make what I deemed a substantial impact on different people and the puzzles that plagued them. Laced with nuance and intricacies, most issues were not solvable by me alone (despite my occasional hubris in thinking otherwise). I humbly understood and accepted this, yet still felt futility in much of my advocacy.
While I found difficulty in solving others' puzzles, life-be it Murphy's law or something else-ensured that I never faced an absence of them. The summer before my junior year, multiple students at my school came forward to share their experiences as survivors of sexual assault, and more specifically, the circumstances surrounding how our school administration had grossly mishandled and covered up these situations. The strength of their voices connected them, but the community lacked unified action. Since legal restrictions limited the activity and public presence of many of the survivors, I began directly working with them to develop a plan. Ire festered throughout the community, everyone was ready to act, but there was no clear direction.
After much consternation, I began to organize a protest to demand accountability from the district. Throughout the process, I viewed the situation as a puzzle-one which lacked any clear solution but afflicted students across the district. I garnered more support, and with the help of survivors, community members, and peers, I reached out to news sources, coordinated a sign-making event, and continued to plan. The culmination of our efforts resulted in hundreds of community members attending the protest, which gained significant news and social media attention. Almost immediately after the event, I got in touch with the school and district administration, and we began meeting shortly thereafter.
In the subsequent months, we worked to overhaul the very systems that had enabled this grim situation. I met with my principal and different committees to ameliorate district policies, revamp education around sexual assault, remove sexist dress codes, provide resources for students, and do everything possible to close any existing gaps. In contrast to the organization of the protest, these meetings felt mundane and stagnant. However, we were progressing. Tangible and impactful results began to emerge. For the first time, I felt I was making a consequential change in the lives of others- the puzzle was finally coming together.
The rest of my life will, unquestionably, be full of puzzles. To my dismay, they may not all be as simple as determining that Warren Buffet is the oracle of "Omaha," but nothing brings me greater fulfillment than helping others solve their puzzles. I now not only accept, but appreciate the patience and energy it takes to fight for people; change is not linear nor instantaneous, and one cannot merely shift life's puzzle pieces like a jigsaw piece. Experiencing a puzzle, from start to finish, fills me with bliss; the value of each individual step, regardless of how trivial, is now something I will always cherish in full.