Please read and critique! This is the extended essay question for the University of Chicago.Essay Option 2. The late-eighteenth-century popular philosopher and cultural critic George Lichtenberg wrote, "Just as we outgrow a pair of trousers, we outgrow acquaintances, libraries, principles, etc. . . . at times before they're worn out and at times - and this is worst of all - before we have new ones." Write an essay about something you have outgrown, perhaps before you had a replacement - a friend, a political philosophy, a favorite author, or anything that has had an influence on you. What, if anything, has taken its place?
"Five feet and a half," she said, and scribbled away on her clipboard.
"What?" I stared at the height rod incredulously, hoping for her to recheck. But the nurse motioned to the chair, telling me to sit. Pouting like a five-year old, I complied.
I am five feet and a half inch, and I find that hard to believe. I have always felt myself to be an inch taller - in fact, I can swear I am an inch taller. I mean, I indulge myself with a glass of milk every morning! In elementary school, when students were expected to line up by "size order," I always stood toward the front. When the class photos that my parents ordered arrived, my dad would always ask, "How come you are the shortest one?" I would always retort with a "No, I am not! Look at her, and her, oh what about her?" He had the same question every year he looked at my class picture and I would always ask myself, "Why am I so short?"
I felt different from everyone else, everyone else who was taller.
However, once I entered high school, I realized that height was only a physical aspect - it provided no insight as to who I really was. Those long, slender supermodel legs that I used to covet became meaningless to me. "Short" was no longer a vocabulary word which I used to describe myself. In fact, I have outgrown the thought of being short.
When I paid less attention to my height, my confidence level grew immensely. I spoke up more in class, adding my input to a lively discussion or answering a question to prove my knowledge. I also took more initiative during group assignments, and was always supportive toward my group members. There were numerous times in U. S. History, Yearbook, and Biotechnical Engineering when I was asked to present my ideas to the class. Courageously, I stood up and walked to the front. As I scanned the various ethnic faces around the room, I saw one thing in common: they were all listening.
My seed of confidence had sprouted. I never hesitated to seize an opportunity so that even when I failed to reach my goal, it did not matter; at least I tried. Whenever there was a dispute between friends, I tried to mediate by trying to understand both sides. I eventually joined more clubs in school and became more involved in leadership positions. Gradually, I become brave enough to perform. Our Yoga final exam was to enact a dance that comprised of all the poses of yoga that we have learned. I was daunted at first - imagine, dancing in front of a whole class! But as I practiced, I realized that confidence was the underlying act. Confidence brought respect. I no longer saw myself as short - I embraced it. After all, it was what made me, me.
A few days ago, I was at the train station with a friend I have known since junior high school. Having used up all the money on my MTA metro card, I proceeded to refill it. As I stood on my tiptoes to reach the microphone at the ticket booth, I heard my friend chuckle. "Cute," she said with a twinkle in her eye. "Thank you," I replied with a smile. "Thank you for the compliment."