Vanderbilt University Application Essay Sample on Camp Counseling and Community Service

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College Application Essay on Camp Counseling and Community Service

Essay by Sarah Lindsay

"I don't do throw-up."

My own words were coming back to haunt me as I heard one of my campers yell, "Ewww, Bridger threw up." I froze. I forced myself to turn around and look. I glanced quickly, then immediately looked away. I stopped breathing through my nose so I wouldn't be able to smell it. I was horrified.

The one thing that I hate most is throw-up. Looking at it causes me to gag. Earlier that week I had been talking to my friend, Molly, who was a counselor in Cabin 3. She was telling me how she had had to clean up her camper's vomit.

"I would never be able to do that," I said.

"Well I didn't have a choice," Molly replied.

"I just…I don't do throw-up," I retorted.

Working at Camp Seafarer on the "Crystal Coast" of North Carolina for the summer was like a dream to me. I had gone there as a camper, and my experiences there have influenced my life greatly. The counselors were so supportive, and it seemed like they never ran out of energy. I was excited to have the opportunity to affect someone's life the way my counselors had affected mine. Being a counselor, though, was more work than I had anticipated. I was always exhausted, and it was hard to keep giving 100 percent of myself twenty-four hours a day. In the end, however, it was worth staying up with a homesick camper or saying a longer goodnight to the shyest girl to help bring her out of her shell. It was just so much responsibility trying to keep twelve ten-year-olds safe, while trying to help them have a great summer. Now my responsibility was spreading to the one thing I dreaded most, cleaning up throw-up.

I looked around at Bridger who looked like she was either laughing or crying. I assumed she was crying since she had just gotten sick. Then I noticed my co-counselors, Jessie and Liz, standing around. I looked at them, waiting for them to take the initiative and start to clean up. But they didn't even move towards it. Then Jessie made a move.

"I'll take Bridger to the health center," she said

Darn, I thought, I should have volunteered to do that. I glanced at Liz.

"Sarah, I'm busy. Why don't you clean it up?"

I couldn't believe it! I was stuck with doing the one thing I have always said I would never do. All right, I can do this, I said to myself. What to get first?…Paper towels! I went into the bathroom to find some, but we were out. Okay, it's going to be okay. I'll just go to the cabin next door. I got some paper towels from Cabin 9 and hurried back to my cabin. As I approached my enemy, the throw-up, I noticed a lot of girls were crowded around me laughing.

"This is not funny girls, Bridger's sick," I told them and they backed up, still giggling softly. All right here goes nothing, I thought as I started to fling paper towels down on top of the vomit. I then squeezed my eyes shut and went in for the kill, picking up the mess. I picked up the paper towels as fast as I could and threw them into the trashcan. I had done it! I can handle this job; the late nights, exhausting days and all the puke that comes with it, I celebrated. Then I noticed that now the whole cabin was laughing.

"Sarah!" Bridger exclaimed, "The throw-up was fake!"

I learned, that summer, that with responsibility comes great rewards, such as my campers' hysterical laughing over the fake throw up. Every smile and every hug made the draining job worth it.

Sarah Lindsay attends Vanderbilt University.

Essay Review

make me barf

We won't spoil the final twist of this essay, but suffice it to say that sometimes an essay merely needs to be a story well told. The personality of the author, Sarah Lindsay, comes through loud and clear in her description of being a counselor at summer camp. Instead of lapsing into heavy-handed moralizing about camp and everything that it taught her, she shows the importance of camp by relating an anecdote. In the process of revealing her care for the campers and her camaraderie with the counselors, she demonstrates an equally important trait: the ability to laugh at herself.

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