Thursday, 17 July 2014

07:51 – Barbara and I were watching Dawson’s Creek last night. We’re in season four, and all the high school kids are doing college applications. The big issue seems to be writing essays. Barbara commented that when she applied to colleges there wasn’t an essay requirement. I didn’t have to write one, either. I understand why an essay requirement scares these kids, though. Most kids nowadays, even college-bound ones, have trouble writing a proper sentence, let alone a paragraph, let alone an entire essay.

I told Barbara that I remembered when Jasmine, who’s now a rising college senior, was facing the dreaded essay requirement. We were sitting on her front porch talking one day. She was telling me once again how much she dreaded having to write an essay. I finally said, “Look, Jas. I’m a professional writer. I’ve been making my living at it for 15 years now. If it’ll help, you name the topic and I’d be happy to write the essay for you.”

I could tell she was tempted, but she declined with thanks, saying it wouldn’t be fair or right for her to submit something I’d written as her own work. I pointed out that this wasn’t a game, and that many of the kids she was in competition with would be taking advantage of whatever their families and friends could do to help them be admitted to the college of their choice, everything from expensive SAT tutoring to paying for professionally-written essays to taking advantage of their Old Boy and Old Girl networks. But Jas wouldn’t budge, and of course she was offered admission to the schools she wanted to attend.