The Cliff

Well, that’s that.  College acceptances (and rejections) are DONE.  Everything has arrived; I know where I can and can’t go to school next year.  Deciding is entirely another matter.  The whole process has been rather surreal.  Over the past year or so, intensity increased incrementally, faster and faster, moving upwards as applications came due, dying down during the waiting period, forming miniature peaks as a few early acceptances arrived, then drastically shooting up over the past couple weeks as the majority of the decision letters arrived–and then nosediving off a cliff today, as my last notification arrived.  I suppose, like Sisyphus, I’ll be marching up and crashing down the cliff again as I work on MY end of the decision process.  Only, I only have to climb up once more (until grad school, at least).

Moving on, though: now, I can start sharing some of my application essays with you (whoever you are).  I’ll start with the one I used on the CommonApp (one application that can be sent to many institutions–one of the best innovations of the college application process).

The lights dimmed.  I felt the apprehension in the air as the drummer raised his sticks.  I stood in the back of the sanctuary, sweating hands on the master volume control. 1-2-and-1-2-3-4.  ON.

What was I doing back here?  What if I did something wrong?  What would people think of me?

After weeks of practice, my church’s youth group was ready to lead the musical portion of the regular church service.  My role had been varied based on availability: backup pianist, emcee, second percussionist, stage assistant.  Honestly, though, when I was discharged from my musical duties, I was relieved—performing in front of a large group isn’t my favorite activity.  Instead, since I had previous sound technician experience, I was recruited to assist the regular sound system manager.  Easy, right?  Just listen to the sound, then twist some knobs, flip some switches, or push some sliders up and down.  A perfect fit for me—musical, but not performance-oriented; mechanical, but not overly technical.  But my reprieve was short-lived.  I discovered, only a few days before the service, that the lead sound tech could not attend.  I would be flying solo.

I can’t do this.  I’ve never done it by myself before.  What if I actually break something?

I couldn’t quit, but I couldn’t do it alone.  But I didn’t have an option: I would have to, whether I thought I could or not—the clock was racing onwards.  The service started and pulled me along with it.

Mic one up.  Piano down.  Bass guitar up.  Signal  percussionist to play softer.  Mic three down.  Rhythm guitar up.  Bass guitar up again.  1-2-3-4.  Fade out.  Vocals OFF.  Master volume OFF.  One song down, only a few more to go.

And like that, the service raced by.  A couple more songs, then a sermon, next a prayer, then one final song, and it was finished.  And it wasn’t so bad, after all.  I did not die of fright; the music team did not suffer a train wreck; the sound system did not explode; the congregation did not start hurling rotten tomatoes.  It wasn’t so hard, was it?

In reality, though, I was never alone.  The music team on the stage was with me, although separated by rows of chairs.  They were supporting me, and not just because I controlled whether or not the congregation could hear them.  Even if I had made a mistake (envision that awful screech that sometimes emanates from speakers), they would have forgiven me.  And that’s all the support I needed.  They supported me because they trusted me to do what was right.  They trusted me as their sound tech, and as their friend.

People trust me.  I trust myself.  I will succeed.

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Nothing Much

It’s been about a year since I started letting you in on my rambling mind.  If you’re reading this, I’m glad you’ve survived.

And a cartoon for the day:


Credit to