Best American Essays College

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When I see patients trapped in not only the hospital but also a moment in time by their diseases, I talk to them.

For six hours a day, three times a week, Ivana is surrounded by IV stands, empty walls, and busy nurses that quietly yet constantly remind her of her breast cancer.

I write screenplays, short stories, and opinionated blogs and am a regular contributor to my school literary magazine, The Gluestick.

I have accumulated over 300 community service hours that includes work at homeless shelters, libraries, and special education youth camps.

Over the years, everything--even honoring my grandmother--had become second to school and grades.

As my shoes humbly tapped against the Earth, the towering trees blackened by the forest fire a few years ago, the faintly colorful pebbles embedded in the sidewalk, and the wispy white clouds hanging in the sky reminded me of my small though nonetheless significant part in a larger whole that is humankind and this Earth.I started to believe that academic perfection would be the only way to redeem myself in her eyes--to make up for what I had not done as a granddaughter.However, a simple walk on a hiking trail behind my house made me open my own eyes to the truth.They covered the precious mahogany coffin with a brown amalgam of rocks, decomposed organisms, and weeds.It was my turn to take the shovel, but I felt too ashamed to dutifully send her off when I had not properly said goodbye. I refused to let go of my grandmother, to accept a death I had not seen coming, to believe that an illness could not only interrupt, but steal a beloved life.Through my work, I can accept the shovel without burying my grandmother’s memory.I am on Oxford Academy’s Speech and Debate Team, in both the Parliamentary Debate division and the Lincoln-Douglass debate division.Her face is pale and tired, yet kind--not unlike my grandmother’s.I need only to smile and say hello to see her brighten up as life returns to her face.I want to be there as an oncologist to remind them to take a walk once in a while, to remember that there’s so much more to life than a disease.While I physically treat their cancer, I want to lend patients emotional support and mental strength to escape the interruption and continue living.

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