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Castles, Kayaking, and College: College Admission Essay Sample

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It’s a Saturday. I am nine years old, with my bright blonde hair blowing in the humid Corpus Christi air. Ryan and I are building a sandcastle as the sun is setting. Using the tools we made with shells and pieces of wood earlier in the day, our tiny hands work quickly to finish our castle. We decorate our castle with the seashells we found as we had walked down the beach earlier. Later, after our castle has been destroyed by the rising ocean tide, we venture alone through the sand dunes in search of buried treasure. We settle for tiny white crabs and name each one of them. “Jeffrey, Frederic, Fabio, Carly, Jack…” we say, as we point at them.

Flash forward six years later and you’ll see I am packing an ice chest with water, six bags of Goldfish crackers, and blue Gatorades, the best kind, for my cousins. We are at Coleto Creek, a reservoir known for its huge alligators. After placing the ice chest in my kayak, my cousins, sister, and I set off on a five-hour trip to paddle through the channels we predicted would be replete with alligators. We bravely decide that if an alligator jumps into one of our kayaks, we’ll hit it with a paddle.

In both of these memories, my parents are blithely unaware of the specific details of my epic adventures. Sure, they know I am on the beach or in a kayak in deep water beset with gigantic reptiles. They also know I could be in danger, but they let me explore anyway.

Perhaps my parents are different because they are the children of German immigrants who spent their childhoods slaughtering animals and working fields to ensure their livelihood, or because they are the only people in their families to graduate from high school, or because we live out in the country, where it always feels unquestionably safe. Unlike most parents, mine couldn’t offer much help on my schoolwork, and have never actively sought out opportunities for me or advocated for me in instances when most parents would. Instead, they allowed me to choose the sports and activities I wanted to join, monitor my own grades, and run around my neighborhood all day.

But freedom can be suffocating. I remember hating my parents when they told me, “Do it yourself. You’re big enough.” This was a common response when I got frustrated with math and asked for help or when I wanted them to talk to coaches or teachers on my behalf. Looking back, this parenting style forced me to either get over it, be resourceful, or, most importantly, become my own advocate and take ownership of my life and choices. So, on my own, I chose to attend a school forty minutes away from my home, join the National Hispanic Institute despite identifying as a white female, and work tirelessly to become the valedictorian of my class while obtaining my associate’s degree. These choices, in retrospect, were no different from capturing crabs or kayaking with alligators. They were choices that emerged from the courage, independence, and adventure-seeking environment my parents created.

My parents empowered me to welcome risks. They shaped me into a scrapper, what my unique redneck family calls resilient people who don’t necessarily seem rugged, and into a young woman who is unafraid to speak up for herself, to take risks, and to never stop searching for my next adventure.

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Castles, Kayaking, and College: College Admission Essay Sample. (2018, May 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 7, 2023, from
“Castles, Kayaking, and College: College Admission Essay Sample.” GradesFixer, 26 May 2018,
Castles, Kayaking, and College: College Admission Essay Sample. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 7 Jun. 2023].
Castles, Kayaking, and College: College Admission Essay Sample [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 May 26 [cited 2023 Jun 7]. Available from:
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