My College Application Essay
Thank you Lorax. You, the “shortish and oldish and brownish and mossy” character, made famous by the pen of Theodore Geisel. You teach and inspire not just me, but everyone. Your voice, “sharpish and bossy,” sticks in people’s heads. I’ve always wanted my voice to do the same. I yearn to grab the attention of the room and showcase my passion for the environment so that everyone in the room feels the need to join my case. And it’s all because of you. You got me hooked from the first time I read your story.
My counselors at Teatown Nature Center’s summer camp were able to recite the entire book line by line. We would read it at story time and act it out in the yearly talent show, attempting to portray every character perfectly and trying to entice the younger campers to an early start in environmentalism.
Well, you worked your magic on me. I attended that camp every year from the time I was seven, and I even attended a camp at the Bronx Zoo as well. My parents would pick me up from the classroom above the gorilla exhibit, and I never wanted to go home. I always wanted to show them the animals we saw that day and tell them everything I learned from the conservationists who spoke during camp. I developed this love for animals, of the environment, and of the message that people need to act, from you.
Around 6th grade, halfway through my experience as a camper, I changed my answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” from veterinarian to park ranger. I wrote down in my journal under my list of goals that I want to travel to all fifty states, and I want to go to as many national parks as possible. I started to research John Muir, the inspirational founder of the Sierra Club and advocate for the National Parks system, freshman year, and his words spoke to me and reminded me of you. “The wrongs done to trees,” he once said, “wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right.” Because of you, I want to try to be that light.
When I aged out of the Teatown camp, I became the counselor that taught the kids about you. I started to have my own voice, hoping that just one of my campers would remember what I told him or her. Then one day, I overheard two campers having a conversation about the coyote “problem” in Westchester County. One of the best feelings I’ve had was explaining to them that coyotes are important to the whole ecosystem, and when I realized they had understood me, it was amazing.
I want to continue to have that feeling. It’s a feeling that gives a life a purpose. To teach is to share an understanding of something, not impose knowledge or force facts into someone’s head. An even more exceptional feeling is when your pupils become so engaged in what you have taught them that they want to go out and teach others. You, Lorax, have taught me so much, and I want to share your lesson with the world.
I recited your story in front of more than fifty people at the New York State Fair. Spreading your message seems like what I was born to do; your words are engraved in my bones. I want everyone to feel the same connection to the wild lands of the world that I do. “But now,” I said, “now that you’re here, the words of the Lorax seem perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.”