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Move-In Monopoly: College Admission Essay Sample

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The day I moved to Norfolk was fairly typical of Hampton Roads in the summer: hot and humid. I remember that specifically, probably because our air-conditioning hadn’t yet been turned on in our house. That morning, sometime in mid-July, my sister and I were playing a board game on the gristly old rug in our tiny room, trying to block out the bare walls and empty closet. We had reached the third game of our routine marathon of “moving-in” Monopoly. By the tender ages of ten and eight, we were quite used to the routine – traveling via road trip or by airplane to a new town, house hunting, helping unload the moving truck, meeting new neighbors. (I practically had my real estate license by this age, after spending years poring over ads with my mom.)

Somehow, though, this move felt different. Deep down, I knew the reason I had tried to cry silently at night so as not to wake my sister in the next sleeping bag over. Simply put, Norfolk wasn’t what I had expected it to be.

Norfolk was supposed to be as magical as a fairyland – or better, because it snowed there. For years, I’d sat on my mother’s lap on the beaches of Hawaii (of course, taken for granted by a child), hearing tales of how wonderful her home was. She’d frolicked in knee-deep snow, something I’d never seen. Norfolk had always been my mother’s home, who grew up an “Ocean View” girl. Perhaps she had built it up, as most of us do when describing our favorite things.

The Norfolk house turned out to be a basic home, ranking somewhere in between our terrible San Diego house and our really nice Seattle house. Our family had definitely outgrown it in the eight years that had passed, especially with the additional two kids gained. The friendly neighbors seemed more like strangers, and the neighborhood once full of nice kids seemed empty. Once again, the Navy had robbed me. Still, after years of moving, the “forever house” my mother had described to me was the realization of something I’d dreamed of for years: staying put.

After winning my fourth game of Monopoly, the still unfamiliar doorbell rang loudly. As I peered out the window, I heard my five and three year-old brothers charging out of their room, racing for the door. No doubt they were looking for kids to play with as well. I sighed and fanned myself with the Monopoly rules. My sister and I played quietly for a few minutes, until my dad came in to tell us that our uncle was here to see us. We both got up, dreading meeting new people. Painfully shy around strangers, we hated hearing the polite chit-chat grown-ups made.

As I met my uncle for the first time, I looked absent-mindedly out the front door and saw two girls in swimsuits. The girls were standing with a tall woman, who was presumably their mother. They pointed toward our house, and the three began to cross the street. I listened to the boring adult talk for a while, but counted the seconds until the girls rang the doorbell. When I finally heard the loud clanging, I screamed, “I’ll get it!” and raced to the door. As I let the girls inside, I became instantly shy. Our mothers embraced one another like the old friends they were. None of us kids said anything; instead, we began to size one another up.

When the girls’ mother came over, she introduced me to Heather, twelve, and Sarah, ten. Sarah seemed small in every way. She was short, skinny, extremely quiet and very shy. Heather seemed just the opposite. Tall, loud and friendly, she was everything her sister was not. I remember smiling at my cousins politely and, seeing our mothers’ unsure, “Will-this-work?” glances, feeling a weight pressed to my chest, as if there were a tremendous pressure to befriend the two girls.

My mom had always told me that I had two best friends back in Norfolk. How I could have known? Sure, we were playmates when we were two, but were we friends? I had always pictured a perfect homecoming: driving up to a big, beautiful house, seeing the vaguely familiar neighbors meet us at the front, and beginning a whole summer of reconnection with friends. It was at that moment, standing with my “best friends”, that I realized none of my fantasies about the great house and neighborhood was true. This was just another new house, with just another new school, and just some more new neighbors. I smiled at Heather and Sarah and invited them into my empty room, just as I would have done in Hawaii or California or Washington.

The next few days were good to me. Sarah and Heather turned out to be great people, and by the end of the week, it was like we’d never been apart. Years later, I would find how much the small house and neighborhood meant to me when I was threatened with the thought of moving to my real “dream home” in Chesapeake. My dad asked me, “Don’t you want your own room? More kids to play with? A nicer, newer neighborhood?” But my idea of the perfect home had changed. I’d found what I’d needed all along. Everything I’d needed was right in front of my eyes.

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Move-In Monopoly: College Admission Essay Sample. (2018, April 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from
“Move-In Monopoly: College Admission Essay Sample.” GradesFixer, 16 Apr. 2018,
Move-In Monopoly: College Admission Essay Sample. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 7 Dec. 2021].
Move-In Monopoly: College Admission Essay Sample [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Apr 16 [cited 2021 Dec 7]. Available from:
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