"Who am I?" I have tried to answer that question my entire life.
Am I still the shy kindergartener that built royal castles out of sand and water, alone in the sandpit? When I entered school, I knew I was different. I did not look like the other kids. I did not speak like the other kids. I picked up on my studies faster than others, and I was reading books far above the level of a normal kindergartener within six months of elementary school. I feared rejection by my classmates, wishing to be among them, to be like them; but only keeping close company with those I believed were my true friends: Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, and Jerri Spinelli. I was the shy reader, and the introvert was me.
Am I still the confused fourth grader that looked in disdain at the essay prompt laid out in front of me? I stared and stared at the lined paper in front of me, grabbing at nonexistent words and plots. I felt the bead of sweat crawl down my face in the humid trailer that was supposed to be a classroom as the worst case of writer's block pervaded my small mind. "I'll never be a writer!" I thought to myself in anguish and buried my head under my arms. I was the anguished writer, and the anguished writer was me.
Am I still the nervous sixth grader that sat alongside three others in the county finals of the Battle-of-the-Books tournament? "Stone Fox or The Outsiders?" asks the team captain as we struggle to remember the book where a boy finds a piece of coal in his Christmas stockings. After narrowing down the choices, our team was deliberating between the answer that would win us the championship and have our names carved in the small, plastic trophy in eternal glory or condemn us to the horrendous predicament known as "second place." Five seconds, four seconds, three seconds... I whisper into the ear of the team speaker, "Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick." Rapidly, the captain regurgitates the answer. A hush falls in the small gym. "Correct!" cries the announcer, and my team bursts into hugs and tears. I smiled. I was a champion, and a champion was me.
Am I still the dissenting freshman in my Honors English class that defended the merits of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens against a sea of angry protestors? I cited the plot and characters as one of the greatest of all time. My furious classmates ridiculed Charles Dickens, foregoing the difficult diction for Sparknotes, skipping the amazing rising action in order to meet a due date, and cursing his name in vain. However, I knew Pip, the boy who dreamed of romance and riches, better than anyone else could. I was Pip, and Pip was me.
Am I still the hopeful junior waiting impatiently in homeroom as the teacher passes out the results of the PSAT at an agonizingly slow pace? Finally, she reached the "S" scores. I almost grab the folder from her outstretched hand and tear open in the folder in a frenzy. "YES!" I cry eyeing the 232 in the top corner, and the 79 in the reading section. A classmate craned over my shoulder and glanced at the large number. "Man, I wish I was you!" I am glad I am me.
I have just begun to realize who I am. I am the sum of my experiences, my genes, my personality. I am a bibliophile, a writer, a champion, a critic, a student, and a bildungsroman all in one. I am starting to understand that I am unique in my own way. There is no other way to put it; I am [Name Omitted].
This essay had no specific instructions, and I basically chose the topic since it was "Topic of Your Choice."