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INTOTHEBEST, Inc. Scholarship Semifinalist Morgan Reed

Congratulations to Morgan Reed from Maria Carrillo High School
Morgan Reed
It was difficult selecting 8 semifinalists from 1,500 applications. There were many strong essays.

Morgan's Essay: Acceptance:

Looking dazed, Joe brought his hand up to the right side of his face and slowly caressed the red handprint that impressed itself into his soft cheek. He looked around, confused and totally oblivious to what had just taken placed. How was poor Joe supposed to know that his girlfriend found out about his little love affair with her friend, Hilda? "Hey Joe, I'm sorry," I said, though I really had mixed feelings about why I was sorry. After all, he did deserve it. I knew about the entire thing. It was obvious. Hilda's eyelids flittered with excitement every time Joe walked by. The breeze that followed him seemed to lift her up high into the sky and then set her down gently upon the gray, cold floor. It was only a matter of time before Joe's girlfriend found out. For the past few weeks, I had wondered if it was a good idea to confront Joe or Hilda about this issue. With the events that had just transcribed, my mind was put to ease. But now, as I thought, I wondered if it were better for Joe or Hilda if I had come to them to tell them what they were doing would get them in trouble. After days of pondering this subject, it became clear that it is a much better aspiration to be respected rather than liked because it would benefit me, my fellow peers and my teachers even though their initial responses may not be positive.

Being "liked" by people is the same as wanting acceptance from people. Wanting acceptance from people is perfectly understandable to a certain extent, but once it turns me into something that I don't want to be, that is the point at which the line has been crossed. In not telling Joe about his erroneous action, I communicated to him that what he was doing was perfectly sensible and that I approved of his actions. The same was communicated to Hilda. This was a very selfish perspective to see the situation from because their interests weren't kept in my mind. To be respected is a much more ambitious calling, but unfortunately, it is also much more difficult than being accepted. If I had told Joe that he was doing something that could potentially hurt him, I would've had his interests in mind before my own. This would've been a very significant advantage for Joe, to stop before his girlfriend found out, but because I didn't tell Joe, he had to suffer the consequences.

Joe, like many of my fellow peers, couldn't see because he was blinded by his sinful lifestyle. He was so infatuated with something that he coveted that he failed to see his need for what was already his. If I had told Joe that Hilda needed to stay out of his life, it is unlikely that Joe would've said "Thank you, now I feel so enlightened. I'll just quit everything that I'm doing with Hilda and go back to my girlfriend." His initial reaction might be one of animosity, but in time, Joe would come to realize that I was right and that if he would've listened, he might have enjoyed a more comfortable relationship with his girlfriend. All too often, peers will react with this same response. There is an enmity that may develop between friends, but after a while, there is a trust that builds. There is a deep-rooted love that will overcome the hate that exists. But unfortunately, this doesn't work with all people.

What most people know is that Joe's girlfriend is Hilda. What most people don't realize is that Hilda is my math teacher. She is only four years older than her students, and as a result, she becomes an instant friend to all the students in her class. Joe seemed to be blind of the fact that she was his teacher and regrettably, so did Hilda. Something about this didn't seem ethical, but nonetheless, I left it alone. I did not tell Hilda that her actions were wrong, and this was definitely a mistake. Like Joe, I had communicated to her that her actions were appropriate. If I had decided to confront her, I might have told her that her actions could have led to her job termination, to her loss of reputation, or the possibility of sexual harassment. Even with all the evidence, it is doubtful that she would've yielded. "You're just a kid. What do you know about love?" is what she would say. She, like Joe, would probably be offended that someone had the audacity to step into her private life. She was like many teachers. There was no room for student criticism and if there were to be any criticism made, it would be from the teacher and directed at the student. But, on the positive side, she too would have a deep-rooted respect for a student that had gathered up enough courage to confront them on an issue regarding their personal life. It is much better to be respected rather than merely liked, even when it involves a teacher because a much richer and more trusting friendship can be formed.

Joe lifted his cold, watery eyes at me and with a soft voice, he mumbled, "Why did you let me do that?" he asked. At that moment, I realized that my own selfish desires had to be put away. My need for acceptance and my fear of the initial rejection of my peers and teachers needed to be put away forever. At that moment, I realized that life would count for so much more if I could be respected rather than just searching for the petty acceptance of people that I was close to.

How IntotheBest's Essay Advice Helped Morgan

What I learned for INTOTHEBEST's "Essay Advice" section:

  • After reading the "What to say" article, I have learned that it is very valuable to make an outline. I made an outline that would guide me through this essay.
  • I learned how important it is to stay on topic. I have a tendency to go way off topic, so after reading the advice, I kept going back to make sure that I stayed on topic.
  • In my writing, I have a tendency to add in sentences that try to make me sound smarter than I really am. I'll start to use big vocabulary (whether or not I know what it means) and after reading the "what's your style" article, I learned that colleges are more interested in me, than a large vocabulary that I don't have.
  • I learned to keep the reader in mind as you are writing and don't make the sentences very confusing. I also learned that it is very important to change sentence structure so that the essay doesn't get boring and so that the reader's mind has a chance to rest.
  • I tried to make a snappy introduction because I learned the importance of that by reading the essay advice
  • I learned that it is important to try and switch vocabulary so that the same words don't get used up over and over.
  • I tried to make a conclusion without just saying "in conclusion". I learned that it is very important to end the essay well.
  • I learned that "shift + F7" will get a thesaurus
  • I learned that it is important to avoid clichés. I didn't notice until I read the advice, but I normally throw a lot of clichés into my writing to sound smarter, but this helped me to get away from that.

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