The Polar-Opposite | Teen Ink

The Polar-Opposite

May 26, 2015
By WordAddict GOLD, Montclair, New Jersey
WordAddict GOLD, Montclair, New Jersey
13 articles 0 photos 30 comments

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Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced, or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?

Challenges are faced every day, of course. Some, so intensely polar-opposite and complex than another; some kids charge battles mentally against depression, or cyberbullying, leaving family and friends behind, some, against illnesses in which they really have no say at all. These significant,  life-altering challenges are inexplicably hard to subdue, and more often than not, hard to understand if you don’t go through them yourself. Some who’ve never had the experience even choose not to question it. Perhaps, for the optimistic denial and shadowed ashamedness from trying to preserve their own happiness by being ignorant about these problems. Yes—problems that people face in the real world, something completely undeniable. And I support those people that are forced to face these challenges.


On the other hand, there are people like me; masses of thriving, learning, chocolate-loving bunch of fourteen year-old kids that really have that other way of life. That polar-opposite life. The schoolboy or schoolgirl lifestyle that is really just a ‘watch-T.V-in-your-bed-all-day-on-a-sunny-day’ type of life that doesn’t really get presented with many problems to face that’s worthy of being used in this college essay. Sure, there’s that occasional absurd load of homework you leave to complete the hour before it’s due, and that brat fight over text-messaging that lasts a couple days, or that unspeakably, mortifyingly, humiliating moment that you fell down the stairwell and spilled your lunch in front of a group of fellow probationers or classmates. All of these have happened to me before, and I’m sure, many other of my fellow school comrades—except, I didn’t fall down stairs. I fell down a hole, and that text-messaging fight was really just an awkward series of emojis between my friend and I, probably because we really couldn’t find anything worthwhile to write to each other. Though despite these trivialities, my point is, we’ve all gone through some incident similar to these.

But are these considered significant challenges that I will remember three years from now in order to redraft this essay? Probably not.

But since this application question is kindly asking for significant challenges I’ve faced, and how I handled them, I will do my best to explain with my fourteen years of sleep-deprived weeks and needy, emoji-ing friends to do so, for I’m not a college student. I am not a viable answering source for a college-student’s life-long challenges worth of experience. But I must give myself the privilege to rephrase, no—tweak this question a bit: Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced, so far, or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?

So, I commence to explaining significant challenge number one: the unexplainable, simply unwanted, horrendous food-fights that break out in the middle of lunch period. I don’t know why it happens, I don’t know who starts it or why they can’t just control themselves from flinging potato salad at their neighboring table, but it happens and it’s a problem, and a significant one at that. I usually handle the situation by waiting for it to be over and hoping that I don’t get hit with Doritos.

Significant challenge number two: creeps in the bathroom. This is a significant challenge that I think speaks for all middle schoolers alike—girls and boys. Pretty much every time I walk into the bathroom, there’s either a pair of girls sitting cross-legged on the floor and braiding each other’s hair, or there’s some dance party going on that I must not have gotten the invitation to. Or, there’s people doing schoolwork. I didn’t know that the lavatory was such a study-hall hotspot. Anyways, usually it doesn’t bother me, because I am fairly used to my school’s quirky ways after three years of it. However, once a nice, friendly boy in my class nervously told me that when he went to use the bathroom, there was a kid sitting in a sink and playing on his phone. My poor, traumatized classmate continued to explain that he was so ‘weirded out’ that he left the bathroom and returned to class without doing his business. Then, he told the teacher on the sink-kid, and got him into trouble. I have to say, though this wasn’t my experience, I would have handled it the same way. In contrast to when I heard a girl crying in a bathroom stall next to me, and I asked her if she was ‘alright’. She had replied, “No,” and “I lost my mac ‘n cheese.” She was crying because of her abandoned pasta, so I figured it was very important to her. After all, I hate it when I lose my lunch. So, I told her that, “everything will be alright,” and that seemed to have solved the problem.

I hope this is what the application essay question expects of a fourteen year-old that has a lot to say, refined writing skills, and what we ordinary middle schoolers call, ‘significant challenges,’ to write about. Overall, from these incidents, I have learned something about myself—that I see life at a very strange angle, and we are united, and I can’t wait for summer vacation.

The author's comments:

I would like to clarify that this is not a real college application essay, tht this was for a school assignment I worked on for my language arts teacher. The assignment was to choose a 'college of choice', and find the essay questions that a highschooler would write in order to apply. I chose the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as my 'college of choice'. Though most of the application questions ask for a highschooler's level of experience, I could not exactly answer them with my middle school's worth of experience. So, I decided to write this in a slightly humorous, light-hearted way that perhaps other kids can relate to.

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This article has 2 comments.

on Jun. 9 2015 at 11:11 pm
WordAddict GOLD, Montclair, New Jersey
13 articles 0 photos 30 comments

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ELLIE?!???? You have a Teen Ink account???? I didn't think I actually knew anyone in real life that I know on Teen Ink. Well, hola, thank you for commenting. Yes, high school will most likely be the same, but I hope that you'll have a good time there up North! (idk the name of your school, thought you've told me before)

on Jun. 8 2015 at 8:11 pm
Hi Papaya :) This is that girl who moved away and feels really sad about it still because she misses you. (*cough* Marla *cough*). You did really well on this essay... It was funny and entertaining to read. I know for sure that high school is going to be exactly the same as middle school in the way that people will be still be doing weird stuff in the bathroom. By the way, nice username ;)