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The question was “1. Having a diverse and exciting community of students is an important component in determining a great university. How can I contribute to that population?”
As I sat at my desk pondering this question, I grabbed my 7-year-old Easter bunny pouch and took out a tiny strawberry-shaped eraser to wipe out an awful idea from my outline. Looking at the eraser, I realized that I had received it in a goody bag from a 5th grade birthday party. It suddenly dawned upon me that I have a unique subconscious interest in garbage collecting.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a trash lover. Seldom will anyone see me rummaging over trash cans the night before garbage pickup. Rather, I just can’t seem to throw anything away. The Easter pouch that once held colorful chocolate eggs is still sitting on my desk, now containing an assortment of erasers. Intermingled with all my stylish necklaces and bracelets are old worn out Barbie lockets. There is even a large cardboard box in my closet that houses hundreds of my “one day these will be worth a fortune” beanie babies.
Not everything I keep is trivial though. I have a nice pouch of pins that I collected from my summer at the National Student Leadership Conference in Chicago. My favorites are the pins from the Chicago Board of Trade and the Federal Reserve Building. A haphazardly painted paper plate mask hangs on my wall, a remembrance of my times volunteering as a children’s art teacher. Ribbons of all shapes and sizes flow down my wall, representing anywhere from wins at badminton tournaments to piano competitions to old spelling bees.
My parents especially dislike my interest in collecting. Every now and then they complain to me that my junk is exponentially increasing since I never throw any of it away. They don’t seem mollified by my explanation that I am merely building memories. The entire top drawer of my night stand is a large box containing all my movie and ticket stubs since middle school. Whenever I add to my collection, I often look through the others and reminisce on the good times of the past. Who would’ve thought that I watched Spice World four times?
There is a story behind every piece of “junk” that I keep. Today, I can still remember my best friend and I fighting over who found the cute strawberry eraser from the goody bag first. Saving up memories has been an interest of mine for years. I hope to add a lot more to my collection at the University of Illinois.
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