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Laura vs Essays for Harvard: Battle of the Century

          Lately, I've been very very busy with a certain task involved in my college applications, that is, not writing my optional essays for Harvard. I'd say "writing my optional essay for Harvard," but then, that would be a bit of lie, and the great thing about this site is the journalistic integrity. You heard it here first, folks: WE NEVER LIE. Especially Jacques. He is a paragon of truthfulness, in case you were wondering.

          It's funny that the optional essays for Harvard should be the thing I'm having trouble with; not because it's so easy to come up with some stellar sentiment that would impress the Big Scary People at Big Scary Harvard, but because of all the aspects of my application, these are the things I could most easily blow off.

          First of all, it's Harvard, I mean, what are the chances that I'll get into Harvard anyway? Even though in my narcissistic opinion, I'm totally qualified to go, and I'd be able to handle the classes, that doesn't mean they'll let me in. They turn away lots of qualified applicants. So you have to wonder, unless you're some amazing straight-A+, 1600-SATs, president-of-the-world shoe-in, why even bother applying? (The mindlessly singsongy retort "You never kno-ow!" is getting real old, real fast.)

          Second, the optional essays are optional. It actually says on the instruction page "Optional materials are optional." And it goes on to say that unless you have exceptional skill, you shouldn't bother trying to submit said materials. (That's why I didn't submit my art portfolio; I'm pretty sure twelve Lance and Eskimo comics and a cartoon picture of a fairy doesn't count as "exceptional skill".) Actually, they say, they could use your optional materials against you. (I forget how they phrased that, but they made it seem really ominous.) They pretty much try as hard as they can to convince you that you shouldn't submit any optional stuff, or, in fact, anything at all. Of course, in my twisted mind, I interpret that as "You must submit as much stuff as possible, including, but not limited to, copious optional stuff." So I plan to give them two essays.

(Yes, I've decided that "copious" means "two". Hey, I have a right. I still haven't forgiven my entire class at school, teacher included, for insisting that "several" means "three". Not three or more, just three--like the same way "a couple" really means "two". Finally I cried "There's the dictionary! Let's look it up!", but of course then, they suddenly "didn't care"! Pussies.)

          In this day and age, the word "irony" is so overused as to render it meaningless, but I think it would still qualify as ironic if Harvard was about to accept me, but rejected me because my optional essays were too terrible.

          Also, by spending so much time wrestling with these essays, I run the risk of missing the deadline for everything else. Damn my insistence on sending everything conveniently in one big manila envelope!

          Despite all the convincing reasons against it, I've decided I have to write the mothers. And, in turn, that has led to me dragging my feet, whining, and finding excuses and distractions enough to avoid writing them. To that end, I have used the following tactics:

  • Reasoning that, since I already worked on it today (read: changed one punctuation mistake), I get to have the rest of the day off.
  • Pausing to think about what I'm going to write. And you know, while I'm thinking, I may as well play some Snood!
  • Convincing myself that the Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon hosted by Patrick Stewart (read: an interview where Patrick Stewart hypes Star Trek: Nemesis, spliced into tiny soundbites placed between approximately 1,000,000 episodes) is more important. I mean, is it "Revising Additional Essays for Harvard, Hosted by Patrick Stewart"? I think not!
  • Not doing it, but feeling guilty. It's okay as long as you feel guilty!
  • Drawing graphic novels, writing television show scripts, composing articles for L&E (gasp! meta!), cleaning my room, learning a foreign language, erecting a giant statue as a sign of friendship to France, building a computer the size of a gymnasium... Actually, it's kind of nice to have some pain-in-the-ass thing you don't want to do hanging over you, because it gets you to do all those other things you otherwise wouldn't have done. Compared to the struggle that is finishing the essays upon which Big Scary Harvard will judge me, all those other things sound pretty good.

          Now that this article is over, I should get back to work, and so should you. But first, I really need to head on over to Amazon to do some Christmas shopping for next year... and you know what skill I never mastered? Minesweeper!


- Laura