Shit, it’s 3:00 AM and all I’ve written are two stupid paragraphs for this college essay. Forget the study sheets for the calculus test, either I know it or I don’t, just can’t do everything. Maybe the best thing is not to apply early, maybe I can’t write this damn thing because I need more time. Yeah time, I need more time just to breathe. Maybe I’ll take a gap year. I wonder how the folks will deal with that? I’ve heard about City Year. Maybe I should make it a priority and find out more about it. What could be bad? Helping people while you help yourself get out of the bubble. Let’s face it girl, at this point you don’t even know why you’re going to college, unless doing what’s expected counts as a reason. What if college is like Alden on steroids? What a nightmare. So this is life: You get into the best school, then the best college, then the best job, then what? Clear more hurdles? What does it all matter?
In Letters of Recommendation, Emilia attempts to discover what matters as she navigates the pits and peaks of her senior year. To her surprise she will find that doubt is her most trustworthy guide as she undertakes her yearlong quest. Along the way she will meditate on the difference between schooling and education, success and fulfillment, privilege and entitlement.
Online booksellers carry Letters — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Tower Books — and your favorite bookstore can order it for you — Letters of Recommendation by Maxine McClintock is published in The Reflective Commons (New York: Collaboratory for Liberal Learning, 2013). ISBN 978-1-937828-004, $24.95.