You are required to spend the next year in either the past or the future.
To what year would you travel and why?
Washington's resolve, Marx's shunned critique, the vision of Dr. King, it all lies in the past, waiting to be re-lived. Yet the notion of the future-of the promise of foresight, wealth, and knowledge-yearns to be exploited. So then why do I once again find myself in 2017? I abstain from the temptations of a rich human history in favor a near past, but not in an effort to change it, but to live it once more. I travel to 2017 to see and feel the love, pain, and loss of it all, just one more time.
I park my car fixed between two warehouses scarred with rust and decay. I know this farm well, it's where I spent almost every morning of the summer of 2017, working for a man I have come to know well, but at this moment in time, have yet to meet. Vernon May sits atop a damp stump, a mountain of logs and wood to his back. I make my way into his kingdom of lumber, as he greets me with a warm smile hidden behind a thick grey beard. Introducing myself to him for the first, and what is now the second time, I refrain from embracing him, instead sticking my hand out to be shook as a stranger, and not a friend. Mr. May, or Vernon as he will insist I call him in the months to come, walks me over to a wood splitter caked in sawdust and grease. Pretending not to know how it works, I let Vernon explain how it splits the unprocessed wood before us, before turning and leaving me to work. In the past, I feared doing something wrong, breaking something so expensive, but as a tourist of my own past, I know Vernon put his trust in me, believed in me, from the moment we met. I shouldn't know how he deeply he cares for everyone in his life, that he wants nothing more than to see me succeed, but standing there alone on his farm, I'm grateful I do.
Five weeks later, a light rain beats down on my exposed skin. I could've dressed for the weather, like everything else, I knew it would rain today. But in my reliving of 2017, I need everything to be the same-to feel the same. Two weeks ago, Vernon and I used his truck to move the splitter to his backyard, as he sung along to Disturbed's cover of The Sound of Silence, teasing his time as a rock singer. I hesitantly lock the lever of the splitter upward, knowing it will cause the hydraulic line to burst and spew boiling fluid, just as it had done before. Vernon drops his attention from the pavilion he is constructing, racing up to me in an instant. As I knew he would, he ignores the damage to the splitter, ensuring I wasn't burned. He does not scorn me, he does not fire me, he simply puts his arm around me, thanking God for keeping me safe.
It is this moment and so many like it that have brought me back to 2017, eager to feel the compassion, love, and friendship of such a great man. However, it is also these moments that tear me apart as I pull out of Vernon's driveway three weeks later having collected my final paycheck. I want to burst through the screen door of Vernon's secluded cabin, pleading him to stay home on May 7th, 2018, but I know that I can't. Vernon will go to work in his blue sunglasses and faded hat, and he will tragically and suddenly pass away in an accident on his way home. I can't change this, I can't fight this, so I drive away, finding solace in the fact that I got to hear him sing, meet his wife and children, and laugh with him, just one last time.
Brayan, the prompt is asking you to describe how you would spend a year in the past, not 3-5 weeks in the past. There is no connection between the 3 weeks you spent working with Mr. Vernon May and the car accident that he had the next year. The essay is not about the last year in this man's life and how you participated in 3-5 weeks of it. The essay is about how you would spend your time in the past over 365 days, 52 weeks in one year. The reviewer could care less about the information you shared in this essay because it focuses too much on Mr. Vernon and very little on you. I know you were trying to tug on the emotional heartstrings of the reviewer. Unfortunately, you missed the total focus of the essay in the process.
Think about something in the past that occurred in your life. Something that unfolded over the course of a year. How would you change those negative events to have a positive outcome? You have a chance to go back to the past for one year to change a marked event in your life, not someone else's life, what period would that be? What would the situation be? How would it have unfolded? What changes to your decision making process would you make? Think about how you would show a sense of maturity with regards to a reckless event you participated in in the past. The idea, is to prove that you now have the maturity and preparedness to attend college and make the right decisions for yourself. It is an essay all about becoming an adult.
That is one way of looking at the prompt. The other way, is to think of a time in history that you believe needs to be changed for the benefit of man. What year would that be? What pivotal event in the history of man would that be? What was the result of that action in the past at present? How would you try to change the results if you could spend a year redesigning history? What do you hope the outcome would have been?
Either way of addressing the prompt is correct. The only requirement, is that you choose the right essay for yourself by picking the one that you feel you have more of a connection with and would help portray your maturity to the reviewer. That is the main purpose of the essay, to show your ability to run your life or change the world in a positive manner.