On the Gain and Value of College

I registered today at ScholarshipExperts, which I learned about while attending the STOMP conference at UCLA last month. After registering and filling out several thousand miles of personal details, I was presented with a rather thick list of scholarships to which I might apply, and so I began to peruse them. One scholarship in particular caught my eye, the “Campus Discovery Survey,” which offered a pretty hefty scholarship opportunity in exchange for taking a brief survey followed by an extemporaneous essay on the topic, “What have you gained by going to college and what value have you received?” all in the space of merely 200 words.

I registered today at ScholarshipExperts, which I learned about while attending the STOMP conference at UCLA last month. After registering and filling out several thousand miles of personal details, I was presented with a rather thick list of scholarships to which I might apply, and so I began to peruse them. One scholarship in particular caught my eye, the “Campus Discovery Survey,” which offered a pretty hefty scholarship opportunity in exchange for taking a brief survey followed by an extemporaneous essay on the topic, “What have you gained by going to college and what value have you received?” all in the space of merely 200 words. At best that’s a difficult task, of course; I could already write a volume or two on the benefit I’ve gained from college and I’ve only just finished my first year. So I set out to write as concisely as possible, and about halfway through was rather shocked to discover that lo and behold, my essay was spilling forth in the form of a poem. It’s not my best poem, to be sure, but it’s only half bad, and at the very least it does answer the question. What’s perhaps most amazing of all, though, is the length: it came out to exactly 200 words.

On the Gain and Value of College

One year into my college career, a swelling is growing inside. A sense that’s immense, of something much greater, of words and ideas all echoing close and intense. I’ve learned new confidence, fed by practiced competence, and a wakening awareness of something–many things–more.

For when I was a child, the kind who rarely smiled, such expansive futures were not to be–not for me. For I came from a place not so much full of grace, but of an empty, a doom and a dreary tomorrow or two.

Onto the campus I stepped with much fear, my heart thumping hard and afraid! And the sun lit up bright, showed me all would be right, just a little effort be made. I found new ways to open, new ways to see, new ideas to think on–and a new, better me. So class by class, I’ve gained a new sense of ID-of loved and unknown ones, all part and parcel of me.

Such values as these are rarely expressed, for it seems so unfair, to have their meanings compressed; but assured  may you rest that what I’ve gained from college is the quintessentially best.

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