The Best Job in the World

by Ranjini
(Champaign, IL)

College Essay - It started one day in fourth grade when my class had moved our chairs into a circle and were reading aloud from The Cricket in Times Square. It was my turn to read so I focused my eyes on the page and opened my mouth to start speaking, but my voice came out as a siren. Dismayed and slightly worried that I was turning into some kind of fourth grader- fire truck hybrid, I furrowed my brow before looking up to see every person in the room stand up so quickly that several children knocked their chairs over. Within seconds, our teacher was ready at the front of the classroom with her keys, her jacket and most importantly, her clipboard full of emergency instructions printed on colorful paper and a class attendance list for her to make sure that we had all made it outside.


Although all this passed smoothly over the course of about thirty seconds, my mind was off, racing in a place where I swear I had at least twenty minutes to reflect and consider the information that my teacher, Miss Long, had given me only a few hours earlier. The rest of my class had been surprised about this fire drill, but not me. I was the chosen one in the class. I was let in on the little secret about the supposedly unexpected fire drill that would occur that afternoon in a top secret conference that had taken place in the hallway with my teacher. Her reason for letting me in on the staff secret was due to the fact that she was going to grant me the noble duty of door holder. When the fire alarm went off and the school erupted into an exodus of panic, I would have to be the cool breath of air that would hold the door and ensure that the other children made it out safely. Once my task was completed and I was satisfied with the number of kids that had exited the building, I could leave my post, walk quickly and safely to join the rest of my class for attendance and bask in the glow of my accomplishment.

When the fire alarm went off, I felt the corners of my mouth lift eagerly to the tips of my ears as I followed the rest of my class, holding my head a little higher because I had a special job that no other student had. When the class turned left out the door, I stopped short and collided torso into face with the tiniest kindergartner in the world. I surveyed the situation, only to find that the small child was holding my door. That door was my job and not something that I was willing to relinquish. In my most stern “big kid” voice, I sent the kindergartner outside and proudly stood with my foot on the edge of the door, beaming as children trudged past me, seemingly envious of my noble post.

At last, I glanced down the hallway and saw no more children coming. With the final student’s footsteps moving farther and farther away, I took one more peek and began striding down the sidewalk with my chin pulled skyward when I felt a sharp tug on the back of my hood. Shocked at the fact that some silly boy would try to ruin my moment, I put on my angry eyes and spun around. I found myself eye to eye with a belt buckle. I let my eyes wander upward to catch my straight faced principal, Mr. Doyle, who without even looking at me, instructed me to go straight to his office.

Suddenly, all the commotion that the fire drill caused seemed to stop. My ears stopped picking up on the sounds in my surroundings and I felt alone standing there on the pavement as the principal walked away. It took a good thirty seconds for me to force my legs to move as I walked numbly and trembling to the office. I turned the knob on the door to the place where the secretaries used to offer me pretzels and stickers, fearing now that all I would ever receive would be detentions and red X’s stamped on my forehead signifying my failure as an elementary school student.

The secretary offered me a friendly smile that made me ashamed to tell her that the principal had told me to report to his office immediately, but I did anyways and she cheerfully escorted me to a comfy chair in his office. I perched on the edge of the chair as I followed her instructions to wait for him to return. She offered me a piece of candy, which I turned down because by that time, I had already decided that I was a bad kid and bad kids did not deserve candy from the principal’s office.

I waited for what seemed like years in that office, retracing the steps I had taken over the past week and finding fault with the most innocent of actions. Suddenly, I considered myself a criminal for leaving the water running while brushing my teeth, for not showing all my work on my math quiz, for not running every step of the mile in gym class. Going through each day, I found a countless number of things that I had done subpar and was sure that Mr. Doyle was stepping in to confront me on all these terrible actions I had committed.

Lost in my thoughts, I didn’t even notice the 6 foot Mr. Doyle walk into his office, slouch casually on his desk chair and begin checking emails while munching on an open bowl of M&Ms. I was lost in my world and he was lost in his. When I finally looked up, I was startled, so much so that I almost started screaming, but luckily caught the sound on the very tip of my tongue. Mr. Doyle noticed my jerky movement, but continued to type. Thoughts flooded my head once again. I was sure that the e-mail he was writing was going straight to my parents, to tell them how their sweet and innocent daughter was turning into a criminal.

Twenty minutes later, a switch seemed to flip on in his head and he looked at me with a confused face, seeming to wonder why I was there. For a second, I was worried that he was going to ask me why I was sitting in his office and that I would have to explain all of the things I had done wrong over the past few days.

The very thought of such torment made me slide further down in the chair, so much so that he had to stand up to see me from across the mahogany desk. He asked what I was doing, and before he could even finish asking his question, I blurted out as much random nonsense as I could get out of my mouth, explaining everything from how sorry I was for wasting water, to how I didn’t deserve to eat his candy to sit in his nice chairs, to how I was sorry for not running with as much passion as I could, and ultimately, my mangled words turned into sobs.

My eruption of emotions was so loud that the secretary came in from next door and placed a comforting hand on my shoulder while flashing a confused look at Mr. Doyle who looked on with the same countenance. When I had finished expressing my grief, there were a few moments of absolute pin-drop silence before Mr. Doyle made the strangest noise. It was halfway between a hiccup and a cough. Then he made it again, and again, and again. He kept repeating this noise until I realized that he was laughing. It started off small but eventually his booming laugh echoed all throughout the office, rivaling the sound level of my previous outburst. The secretary too caught the giggles and sat down to try to maintain a professional air, but it was impossible. The room filled with positive energy from the resounding laughter of two adults, but I simply sat with wide eyes, looking at the crazy people around me in horror.

Once Mr. Doyle was able to speak without breaking down in laughter, he explained that I wasn’t in trouble, and that the purpose of my visit to his office was to ensure that Miss Long was following the proper attendance procedures. When she was leading her class out of the building, he did not see her carrying a class list so he assumed that she was not prepared to take attendance. Almost eerily, the phone rang and from the other end, Miss Long reported that I was missing from her class. Mr. Doyle smiled as he explained my whereabouts and sent me back to my classroom.

As I in the safety of sat in my desk, I couldn’t focus on a thing that Miss Long was saying. The only thing that was on my mind was the immense amount of reflection I had done in Mr. Doyle’s office. Suddenly, I really did feel terrible for letting the water run too long and not showing all my work on the math quiz and walking from time to time while running the mile. I wasn’t sure why it bothered me all of a sudden, because I hadn’t felt any remorse until I got the chance to think about it.

Miss Long addressed me and asked me to stand up and resume reading from The Cricket in Times Square, so I prepared to read, just like I always had. I opened my mouth once again, but no sound came out. Feeling lost in my thoughts once again, I realized that I was faced with two choices in a simple situation. I could either just read the passage, or I could read the passage with more passion that I had ever read with in my life. If I chose the first option, I’d be forced to live forever with the regret that I didn’t devote myself more to the task at hand, and maybe when I needed to reflect again, it would bother me, the same way that it bothered me when I found so much fault with my actions in the office.

If I chose the latter, I might get some weird looks from the other kids, but I would know in my heart that I had tried my absolute best. I looked at the book like it was the door that I had been so proud to hold earlier, and I considered it an honor to be selected to read aloud, regardless of how many times I had been chosen before.

The words came alive as they rolled off my tongue, and despite the awkward glares from my classmates, I continued reading. When I reached the end of the paragraph, I sat down, my heart racing with the joy of accomplishment, a feeling that I realized I needed to experience as often as possible.


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Thank you Ranjini for sharing your college essay to include in our examples of College Scholarship Essays. Good luck to you.

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