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Graduation Scrooge Walks - With A Free Essay Review



Largely driven by the prospect of graduating early, I elected to complete my senior year in an accelerated program, abandoning a traditional high school education. Admittedly, though my own circumstance wasn’t much different, celebrating, I’d decided, with a handful of slackers, pregnant teens, and drug addicts—a number so small a toddler could effortlessly count to—seemed almost as humiliating as not graduating. Unlike my peers, the thought of strutting across a stage, temporarily highlighted like first word on a dictionary page didn’t arouse me. This succeeds an unintentional tradition: I don’t celebrate my graduations. I received my middle education at home and I only scarcely recall my earlier graduations, so I doubt those felt like momentous occasions. Since sheer obstinacy, inspired by needless guilt, has blocked me from celebrating my achievement. This time around, I felt like the graduation Scrooge.

After misspending a few years dabbling in and out of school, in and out of jobs, essentially wasting time, I decided to focus; so, I recently attended my college graduation ceremony. I couldn’t, however, motivate myself to join in on the merriments. Receiving my bachelor’s seemed, and still seems, like an obligation, something I’m supposed to do. I could not contrive a celebratory mood because I did not feel accomplished; conversely, I felt belated. If, at the age of twenty-six, walking across the stage signified earning my master’s degree—and I’ve only recently decided that I wanted to accomplish my master’s—I’d rejoice. But I’m four years behind. So instead of joy I am, privately, ashamed. The good news is that I do feel some joy. This graduation brings me joy for others and I am more than willing to take on a celebratory spirit for my peers—ambitious doers (some who are only twenty) who enrolled in college directly after high school without dawdling.

I can’t help recognizing a somewhat subtle disparity. Observing fellow students snapping pictures with their families they looked remarkably young. Those booze guzzling, pot smoking, often irreverent intellectuals suddenly resembled children. It’s a bit startling, really. I could see them, briny liquid drenching their tender cheeks, in their first classroom as their mother stoops to stamp their foreheads with a lipstick vow to return. Though I keep my shame to myself and participate in achievement themed well-wishing, I cannot bring myself to participate in the festivities. As my fellow classmates proudly sashayed across the stage, I thought: I wish I could do the same. I simply shuffled across the stage as if it was a chore, something I had to do. What I really wanted was to be just a few years younger, and then I could walk with pride.

And though, to those who have endured their twenties, a distinction between twenty-six and twenty-two appears to be a mere trifle; for me, the age difference, in some ways, is substantial. Human nature, and perhaps, insecurity, asks me to compare myself to others and that comparison asks me to account for those four years—years that should have been spent establishing a career, refining a skill or, possibly, creating a family. Many of the students from my graduating high school class—and some who are younger—are raising children, earning a generous salary, or both.

I do, in some ways, count myself lucky. Still in my youth, I’ve lately detoured from my path of lifelong squalor to travel towards a life of value—I’m still in my rough drafts—while some that I once knew feign comfort in their misery—that is, of course, if they still have a breath. One previous contact, with all sincerity, I did know him well, was recently taken away, though, one can argue he took himself away, leaving a kicking in his wife’s belly that will never know its father. My friend was not quite twenty-five.

I know that there are plenty, maybe hundreds, of graduates my age and older. I don’t, for once, believe that they should feel dejected by their standing. I applaud them as well. I only lament idle time. Where would I be right now if I’d remained in college directly after high school? For one, I would have graduated sometime in 2008. I suspect, given that that is around the time the U.S. economy began to decline, even then, I would struggle for shot at attaining a sturdy career; but my chances would have been much greater. Like many of my compatriots, growing up, I envisioned for myself the mythic American dream. This reverie included the idealized white picket fence cliché. Now, even more so, this is fairly difficult to attain and graduating makes this reality more vivid than ever. I am no longer sheltered. Sallie Mae will want her money.

Toward the end of high school, we feared the end because, no longer sheltered, we expected to be forced into the real world. What we failed to anticipate was college as a higher playground. The playground, I discovered, did not yield enough excitement. I left. A professor recently told me, in fact, that he prefers the older undergrads (those my age) to many of his eighteen to twenty year old students. “Why don’t they party for a couple of years, get it out of their systems, and come back?” He laughed, but he was serious. At that moment, I felt proud—justified—of my time wasting. I don’t condone it, but for the first time, I reflected sanguinely on my former “exploration.” Though I admire the younger students in my graduating class, I realized that I have something a lot of them don’t, a bit more life experience. Albeit, it isn’t much, I feel fortunate to have it. There are many moments that I long to relive, but many more that I don’t dare speak of. To relearn life’s lessons is like repeating a class and there aren’t many classes I wish to repeat. My desire is not to be my own personal curmudgeon, rather, I want to remember this moment for what it is—catching up—so that my newly high ambitions will never again falter.

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ESSAY REVIEW

I'm afraid this is the kind of essay that is nearly impossible for me to meaningfully review as I have no idea what the purpose of the essay is. Whether that is a problem for the essay or not of course depends on what the purpose actually is. If it’s a personal statement for some application or other, then it's not much of a problem, but I don't think it's a very good personal statement. Its focus seems to be on what I suspect is one of the least interesting things about you as a person or as a student: the fact that you took a few years out before going to college and therefore don't feel like celebrating your graduation.

I really don't know what else to say about it so I'm going to cheat and talk about the style of writing. The essay has some nice turns of phrase, and the image of mothers "stoop[ing] to stamp their [children’s] foreheads with a lipstick vow to return," for example, is pretty neat, but the syntax is not always reader friendly, and in some places (for example the second sentence) plain clumsy. Perhaps it is just a matter of taste, but I imagine most readers would prefer the second of the following two sentences:

And though, to those who have endured their twenties, a distinction between twenty-six and twenty-two appears to be a mere trifle; for me, the age difference, in some ways, is substantial.

And though the difference between twenty-six and twenty-two would appear a mere trifle to those who have endured their twenties, the difference is substantial for me.

Note that my version of your sentence has only one comma, and leaves out the qualifying phrase "in some ways." You tend to stick a lot of qualifying phrases into your sentences and they often constitute stylistically awkward interruptions. That is all right if the qualification is really necessary, but it often is not.

Best wishes, and congratulations on your graduation.

EJ.
Submitted by: desertingpupil
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