Growing Up

In order for the Admissions staff of our college to get to know you, the Applicant, better, we ask that you answer the following question: are there any significant experiences you have had, or accomplishments you have realized, that have helped to define you as a person?

Getting up early simply hurts. Getting up early in the summer hurts even worse, and getting up early in the summer to do work is close to torture. This past summer I had to do just this. Every morning, except for Sundays when I was lucky enough to sleep in a little before church and the occasional Saturday, I would get up around 6:30 and get ready for a day of hard physical labor. I had three jobs this summer: to clear two separate roads through dense woods, and put up a fence along the road by our barn. Because I am still young, my father decided that it would be a good learning experience if, for all of the jobs, I was permitted to use only semi-primitive tools; nothing electric, nothing gas powered. This meant that for clearing roads through the woods, I was allowed to use a saw, clippers, an axe, a shovel, a pike for moving large rocks and the physical labor and companionship of my three younger brothers. For putting up that fence I was, thankfully, given the right to use a posthole digger, albeit an old handheld one. So, most days I told my friends no thanks to going to the movies, or no thanks to going out to have some late night food or ice cream. I knew that the following morning would be an early one, and if I did not get enough sleep I would be miserable or might even hurt myself with some tool. At first this was something that irked me significantly, but as the summer wore on I became accustomed to working and even began to enjoy it quite a bit. My brothers and I had a good time talking as we worked and, as we made progress, we were very proud of our work. It was like weight lifting with a larger purpose. I felt like a pioneer, clearing the first roads through the dense Upstate New York woods and putting up fences in the rocky soil using only hand tools. Many good things came out of these jobs. First were the roads and the fence, which look very good and are useful. I learned how to use my hands and work efficiently with my brothers. I learned how to have enough will to get myself up from bed and go to work when my father was not there to wake me. I learned how to enjoy work. Most important of all, however, I learned that getting up early in the summer is a part of growing up, and the lazy days of sleeping in is something one needs to learn to leave behind [well, mostly] with one’s childhood.

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