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Personal Essays

Essay: Forget the summer plan

Essay: The level playing field

I believe all seniors should be recruited into employment in an NFL Draft-like fashion every spring, and I’m a little bitter that we’re not. Put on a hat, smile for the camera, buy a diamond-encrusted watch to celebrate — that sort of thing. This sentiment was completely reinforced at a run-down table in the back of a Columbia bar one Friday in March when my good friend Laura and I decided to meet up with a few old friends. And by old friends, I mean Mizzou football players.

Essay: The tumbler

(Web Exclusive) I know my reputation as a klutz precedes me. Surely I’m not the only one who wishes to bury the more embarrassing episodes of my youth, but there is one story I just can’t shake.

Essay: “Man’s best friend” is my worst nightmare

(Web Exclusive) I consider myself a composed person. But when my phobia is triggered, all poise melts away and my survival instincts kick in. I feel a surge of adrenaline, and I want to run or hide. But if I run, I’ll be chased, so I mostly hide. When I look at a dog, I can’t see the harmlessness of a family pet.

Essay: Coping with my mother's suicide

(Web Exclusive) I tend to liken my mother’s death to that of Sylvia Plath’s. Granted, my mother was not a renowned writer, but she did commit suicide. I was 14 years old when she took her own life, just a few months after she was diagnosed as having manic-depressive disorder. I found her body on the sunny but frigid afternoon of Jan. 3, 2004.

Essay: In the wrong key

(Web Exclusive) When I was playing the piano, I never appreciated it; I never realized its worth. I chose to quit piano lessons. I promised myself that I would continue to play. That was a lie. While I was playing, music meant little to me, but now it’s gone, and I can’t get enough.

Essay: He's got the whole world in his hands

(Web Exclusive) I watched Murphy as he gently flipped the cup over and rolled the small blue and green clay marble into his age-less hands. With the marble resting on his palm he said, “I’ve got it in my hands," he said moving it even closer, "See?” I’ve been thinking about that conversation a lot, in fact I think about it all the time. About youth in general, and well, having the whole world in your hands or, at least, at your fingertips.

Essay: Red Hair

(Web Exclusive) When mom, with her platinum blonde Pantene-Pro-V-model hair, and dad with his rich, fudge-brownie-like tresses, mixed and mingled their genetic decomposition’s deoxyribonucleic acid in a swirl of swimming tadpoles — lo and behold — three true-blue redheads blinked back at them

Essay: Unicorn

(Web Exclusive) My dad promised culture and not just a craft fair, but I suspected that this little adventure could only bring me misery. It was insufferably hot for springtime, but the heat quickly became the least of my worries.

Essay: High school sweat shirt

(Web Exclusive) There it lay atop a box stuffed with others just like it. It was nothing special, just a folded navy blue piece of fabric. Yet, I balanced on the tips of my toes and cranned my neck to get a better view inside the box as if I was looking at the most unique and meaningful thing I had ever set my eyes on. As my coach called me forward to collect my informational forms and uniform, I kept glancing toward the overflowing box.

Essay: Beatles Revolver CD

(Web Exclusive) When I was 8 years old, I fell in love with Eleanor Rigby. She, along with a group of her closest friends, taught me how to love music.

Essay: Shoes

(Web Exclusive) My feet are snobs. They will not let just any shoe grasp their arches. My left foot and right foot have developed a love for beauty in shoes. And because of their fetish with the fine craftsmanship that adorn them, my collection of shoes has grown from a fair beginning of two kitten-heel pumps and three pairs of Gap flats to 18 pairs of high-heels and 11 pairs of boots.

Essay: Burger

(Web Exclusive) I went overseas for the first time when I was a pimply-faced teenager who had never been farther from home than Disney World, but it took American food to appreciate it.

Essay: Rollerblades

(Web Exclusive) My feet have forgotten the feeling. Today they slip into dull shoes, boots and sandals. They take baths and endure grooming but to impress nothing—not any more.

Essay: Music box

(Web Exclusive) A gentle turn of the key and the gears emit a faint lurch. The machinery begins to turn, and the music starts. The sound is faint alone, but the sides of the music box magnify the twinkling chimes. I smile. Breathing a sigh, I close my eyes and empty my head of thoughts. The key turns slower. The melody fades. Listening to the last few notes that hang in the air, I fall asleep.

Essay: Car

(Web Exclusive) This time last year, my psyche was locked up in the solitary confinement that is winter. I was mourning the loss of the sun, of afternoons spent lying under trees, of hikes in Rock Bridge State Park. Aside from my time at school, I barely left my apartment.

Essay: Ballet slippers

(Web Exclusive) Both pairs of shoes look very different from when I first bought them. The white canvas toes are exposed from years of wear. The older pair is soft and pink, discolored in some spots where we used makeup to try and cover up the dirt. They are small, fit for the feet of a child. Bloch Serenades, size 2 ½, width C. Tiny sequins are embedded in the leather sole, no doubt from some long-forgotten costume or set.

Essay: My great-grandmother’s rosary

(Web Exclusive) I only take it to funerals. It sits on my lap laced between my fingers, a somber addition to my black dress. It doesn’t whisper any words of comfort or put an arm around me when I start to cry, but it manages to ease the nerves and dry the tears.

Essay: The day I lost my mother

(Web Exclusive) That day I stopped being my mother’s child and started being a woman who takes care of her family. We became more distant, and I stopped telling her every detail of my life. I felt as though I couldn’t be as close to her anymore, because I could lose her at any time, and I had to protect myself from that.

Essay: Struggles of an interracial relationship

(Web Exclusive) As Spencer Tracy’s character says in the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, my boyfriend and I are just “two wonderful people who happened to fall in love and happen to have a pigmentation problem.”