Between the Lines

Updated: Feb 15, 2019




Every Year, The New York Times invites high school students to send in college application essays that have something to do with money, and every year they publish a handful of these essays.   I’ve just finished reading the five essays published this year and am sitting here feeling uplifted by the clarity, seriousness and passion of the youngsters represented.


Their essays are very different—one written by a young man whose family has immigrated to the U.S. from Kenya and who finds himself back in his family’s village, pondering the two very different worlds that have created him.   One is by a young woman who has grown up farming and, in trying to be as good as a boy at her job, realizes that she has surpassed even her beloved father in certain tasks; by the time she finds herself in a boarding school classroom, studying feminism, she realizes that she has already experienced female self-actualization in such a way that she may have no need of its academic definitions. And one is written by a young woman from a wealthy New York suburb who has volunteered for years helping people with their taxes. Through this work, she has been afforded a view into a world of poverty that she doesn’t inhabit and which she hopes to help change.


The essays are inspired and inspiring. They are the voices of kids who understand the importance of the past, specifically their families’ histories, and the efforts and events that have contributed to their young selves finding themselves poised for higher education; voices full of gratitude for the individual people, sacrifices and gifts that have landed them in this moment; full of commitment to honor all that has been done on their behalf and to build on the opportunity offered them; and, yes, full of hope and promise and the conviction that they will change the world for the better, be it by reforming the tax structure or passing along lessons of love imparted by devoted parents.


Might we all be so imbued with their spirit! https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/11/your-money/college-essay-topic-money-social-class.html


With best wishes,


Elizabeth

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