Admission Essays :
Cecilia A. Oleck - Grand Rapids – Michigan
If there is one lesson that Cecilia has learned, it’s the importance of
listening. Her teacher? A doll named Christopher, which she describes
as the one item she planned to take to college. Cecilia understands the
importance of listening, not only in her personal life but in her professional
future as well. She plans to become a journalist. At West Catholic
High School, she wrote for the newspaper, tackling topics such as the
double standards for athletes and gender stereotypes. She is now a
student at Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana.
Christopher - Northwestern University
When I leave for college, among my belongings will be an item not so
unusual as it is beloved. Along with the normal objects for daily life will be
my most precious possession, my Cabbage Patch doll Christopher. Christopher
and I have been virtually inseparable since my first year of life, nearly
18 years ago.
I think he is adorable. He has coarse, brown hair made of yarn, a smooth
plastic face and warm brown eyes. He wears a never-fading smile and has a
soft body. Christopher is dressed in blue jeans and a blue and white striped
This doll has been a great comfort to me throughout the trials of my life.
I remember when I was younger and got upset about something, I would
always get Christopher and trace his face with my fingers. His face is cool
and smooth and I was always relaxed by the simple motion. I find myself
using this calming technique to this day.
Christopher has also seen his share of hardships. In two unrelated yet unfortunate
accidents, he lost a leg and then an arm, both of which my mom
lovingly sewed back on. He has also suffered from a head wound, a crack
in the skull, from a careless cousin slamming him against a headboard.
My dad acted as a surgeon for this emergency and soon Christopher was
back on his feet. The scar from that operation is still visible in the form of
glue. While some might think that this detracts from Christopher’s physical
beauty, I feel it adds to his character.
Christopher has been present for all the major milestones in my life, as well
as for the monotony of daily life. We have traveled to many different places
together. We have visited family in New Jersey, New York and Tennessee,
vacationed in Florida, Texas, Mexico and Mackinaw Island. We’ve been to
summer camps together and we also were able to explore the western part
of the United States with 30 of my classmates. I did have to leave Christopher
at home when I went on a mission trip to Costa Rica this past summer.
I was worried that he might not survive the trip and I was not willing
to risk losing him.
Sometimes I find myself wondering why I would form such a strong attachment
for an inanimate object, as I am not a very materialistic person. I
honestly cannot answer that question. As I reflect on all that has happened
to me in my young life, I realize that this simple doll has helped me to learn
some valuable lessons. It is always nice to know that I have someone who
will be there no matter what I do. I remember when I was younger. I would
talk to Christopher and tell him everything. He would do nothing more
than sit there smiling at me. He is not human, so he was never shocked
at my revelations and he never scolded me or offered me advice. He just
It has taken me 18 years to begin to understand the concept of just listening.
It was one of the healthiest things for me to be able to vent my frustrations
or share my excitements without being interrupted. I see now how
the people that I am involved with need that as well. I have discovered that
I do not need to always talk to make an impact but by listening to a person
I may help someone the most.
Christopher’s unusualness comes from everything he has been through. I
think the most important thing that I have realized from having Christopher
is to keep and cherish the reminders of my childhood with me for
the rest of my life. There is an innocence and beauty to children that many
people seem to lose as they become adults. I am ready to take on more responsibilities
in my life and I do not shrink from my independence and from
growing up, but I still want to keep some of those childlike qualities alive
inside of me. Every time I look at Christopher I am reminded of that.
Why This Essay Succeeded
Who says an influential person has to be human? Cecilia redefines
the question so that it fits her own experience. This is a very creative
approach and works not because we are surprised to learn that Christopher
is a doll but because Cecilia is able to convince us why this doll
has been so significant.
Through her essay, Cecilia explains how Christopher has been the one
constant in her life and has served as a source of strength and comfort.
The ability to recognize and convey this idea in her essay shows her
ability to think and examine. A good essay is a synthesis of both writing
and analytical abilities.
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