Common App Essay, A.H.

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. (650 words max)


When I was 8 years old I went to Camp Henry, a summer camp in Michigan, for the very first time. Instantly, it became one of my favorite places in the world. After dreaming for 9 years of becoming a counselor, last spring was finally the time to apply for the job and within a blink of an eye I was heaving my suitcase out of the car onto the dirt road of camp. Looking down across the lake and up at the faces of my friends, I felt so grateful that this was going to be my home for the summer.

Within 3 hours of arriving, and quickly unpacking, the campers started coming through the woods towards the cabins. Throughout that first week of being a counselor, things were a little hectic. Getting used to watching over 11 children at one time was stressful, but by the end of the summer it was a piece of cake. I learned how to trust that my campers would follow after me and that they were old enough to not wander off. I learned how to get all of them out of bed, cleaned, dressed and out the door to breakfast in a half an hour. And at night, how to calm them down before bedtime; if you sing them a lullaby and tuck each of them in before turning out the lights, it gives them a sense of security and peace for the night to come. Pretending to be cavemen walking around camp and bringing out my inner 8-year old again, I was able to live and let go.

The experience I had of caring for little girls and boys that needed all my love and attention was one of the most humbling and rewarding experiences of my life. I learned so much about myself and my religious as well as social beliefs through 8 year old children. When one of my campers had a medical emergency and I was the only one around, I was forced to act as an adult and think of the best possible solution. Being a role model for the little girls that came through my cabin every week, just as my counselors were for me when I was little, gave me a feeling of joy that nothing else had ever given me.


Through the experience of being a camp counselor, I matured an immense amount and now, finally feel confident in what I want for my future. I now know more about the things that make me happy and the reasons why I think like I do. I can think for myself and rely on myself to problem-solve. Spending the summer with no judgement, simply laughter and fun, taught me how to be comfortable in my own skin, and how to be confident. I know how to thrive being the person that I was made to be. I finally feel like I am being accepted by my family and community as my own individual and I am able to form their view of me in my own, personal way.


Writer’s Memo:

I added a couple of schools to my list of colleges I’m applying to, so I had to start a Common App. I decided to write my essay this week for my Common App. This way, I am forced to work on it and get it done and will receive some good feedback on it. I think this will be a really good piece to write. I have the “skeleton” of the piece, but now need to add more “meat” to it. This is a VERY rough draft, and I would love to have you continue to revise and edit it with me.


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