How a Family Can Heal: New York University Undergraduate Application Essay Sample 700 words GradesFixer
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How a Family Can Heal: College Admission Essay Sample

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Every night, my mother transformed. Her alter-ego was no superhero, however. This lady was louder than my mom, a bit slower-moving, and she laughed much more often. She looked the same as my mom, except that her eyes were vacant like one of my dolls. She was clumsy, too, though it didn’t seem to bother her much. I’d run to her side when she tipped off her chair, only to find her giggling in a crumpled heap on the floor. “I’m gonna lay here for a little bit, baby,” she’d assure me as her eyelids fluttered shut. Watching her sleep, I felt deep in my stomach a fear that she wouldn’t wake up, or that if she did she would be stuck as the stupid smiling lady forever. I hated that lady for stealing my mom from me.

When I’d wake up wherever we had ended up the night before, I’d be alone. I’d get up to find my mom, without fail, in the kitchen making breakfast. Leaning over the stove, she sang along to the radio, and she’d hand me a plate of pancakes with purple flowers painted on using food coloring. When she smiled at me the light was back in her eyes. I knew that we would not talk about the bathroom floor, the dinner which had gone unmade, or the fear I’d felt. So I found refuge at school. In class, I felt in charge of not only my actions but of their results. I found a place where I could have what I craved: attention. This came in the form of praise from my teachers. With this constant reassurance, I felt that I truly belonged. I was able to make sense of things in Math, English, or Science no matter how confusing they first seemed, and I believed that if I had enough practice at this problem solving I’d eventually be able to sort out what was happening at home.

Eventually, however, my family broached the topic. My mom was staying in a rehabilitation center, and the time spent between relatives was my first exposure to the concept of alcoholism. Suddenly, phrases like “disease” and “getting help” and, always, “she loves you very much” filled the space that my vivid imaginings always had. I was terrified, asking, “Is that deadly? Can’t they cut out the other lady?” The world I believed in was shattered by a series of neatly-packaged words. Nobody knew exactly what to say, and when my mother returned home the topic was taboo once again.

My family, though they tried, couldn’t help me in the way that I needed. My mother was given continuous support; even beyond rehab there were groups and psychiatrists. Nobody reached out to me to help me understand what my mom was dealing with, and there was no place where I felt comfortable sharing how I felt. Once again, I found solace in learning. To combat the isolation I felt I began to independently research the nature of addiction. I was haunted by the question of alcoholism’s heredity. Was this my fate, as well? If I had not found the answers to alcoholism myself, my mom and I may never have been able to repair our relationship. My interest in psychology stemmed from my own experiences and my desire to explain the behaviors which affected me so greatly, but my passion for psychology stemmed from my desire to better these situations for children affected by issues in mental health.

I hope to make these resources more available to children. First, I believe here should be education in schools about social issues such as substance abuse, and opportunities given for children to seek support. Furthermore, in addition to programs which help adults, I believe that it should become the standard that an addict’s family takes part in rehabilitation as well. Children being a part of the recovery process will keep them from fearing or resenting it. My upbringing has shown me what is important in my future. I plan to pursue psychology because I believe that whole families, in addition to individuals, should be able to heal from the toll that addiction takes.

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