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Senior Essay: Common App Essay


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By Ruth Kramer ’18, Editor-in-Chief

I wasn’t a selfish brat, I was just a quiet only child. Being an only child shaped my world view a very specific way; I didn’t like the disorder and noise of my Hannah Montana birthday party in second grade, I didn’t like the dynamics of group math projects in fourth grade, and I didn’t like the immaturity of my fellow classmates when we had to vote for class president in Middle School. I liked people, but for the first eleven years of my life I was drawn more to adults than kids my own age. To my parents I was a mini-adult that they could take with them on their adventures; I had been to Zinzinnati Oktoberfest by age three, I learned Sunday afternoon football games were a family tradition, and that popcorn and peanuts always taste better when a sports bar gives them to you for free. I still had friends at school and on sports teams, but I was less enthusiastic than most little girls my age to have playdates or do group projects or have big slumber parties. I simply liked being by myself. And being an only child made that very easy to do.

By the time I was eleven my parents had told me about this mythical show from the 90s called FRIENDS. I began my 10-season, 236-episode journey of FRIENDS at a young age and it quickly became a part of me. These six characters were all different, all quirky, and all flawed in one way or another. But they complimented each other in ways I had never thought possible. I became obsessed with the show; I could recite the whole first episode backwards and forwards, I could differentiate between seasons based on Joey’s haircut, and I even ordered the $50 complete box set that I still watch to this day. FRIENDS influenced me so much that I began using it in everyday life. First, it was a joke here and there, but quickly I began to take Rachel’s fashion advice to heart and I proudly belted out Phoebe’s “Smelly Cat” when anyone was in need of a laugh. I identified with Monica and her specific preferences for order and control, but also with Ross’s awkwardness and exaggerations, so I combined their personalities when dealing with difficult situations. When I moved up to high school, I kept my cool with upperclassmen by handing out random FRIENDS trivia facts that I had collected over ten seasons. When I ran for high school president, I used Chandler Bing’s jokes as a guide to write a funny speech. And when I failed, as I did running for president, I shook it off and moved along. A little high school humiliation was nothing compared to Ross’s three divorces or Joey’s horrible French skills or Phoebe’s tone-deaf songs, so what was there really to worry about.

Every now and then I still pop in a FRIENDS DVD or turn on the late-night reruns. I still sometimes quote Chandler Bing when I need something funny to say. And I still clap my hands for the theme song every time I hear it. As I get older I rely less and less on FRIENDS than I used to. However, when things get hard I still go back to the characters and words of wisdom that have taught me so much. That sometimes Thanksgiving Trifles taste like feet. That saying you were on a break is not a good idea in any dating situation. That “how you doin’?” is understood by almost everyone. That even poorly written songs can make it to a coffee shop stage. And that, when being welcomed into the real world, it sucks. But you’re gonna love it.

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