Where She’s From

Tomorrow, my eldest niece will graduate from high school. And in August, she’ll head off to college. Unlike her brothers who chose campuses closer to home, Miss Thang will be flying further away from the nest.

Today, I’m sharing one of the essays Audrey authored during her college application process. Because tomorrow, we’ll celebrate her: the person she is and the person she’s becoming. My niece knows who she is. Tenacious, kind, funny and smart: I’m excited for her to strap on her invisible wings and take them for a spin. Can’t wait to see where she lands.

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Photo by Florian Komorowski

Where I’m From by Audrey Jacobson

I am from ballet shoes and muddy sneakers.

From two older brothers, playing on the driveway.

I am from high expectations and never giving up. From surging on the canal path and running in circles.

From a box of Nike spikes, sweaty locker rooms, a blue and gold uniform and eleven varsity letters.

I am from “suicide sprints” and layup lines. From dropping balls and picking them up again.

From “Eat the hills for breakfast!” and “Keep your head up!”

I am from going out of my way, from hard work. From camaraderie, spirit, and supporting my teammates.

I am from ten summers at sleep-away camp. From fearlessly leaving home, a wee thing toting a humongous duffel bag.

I am from broadening my world, from making new friends, from unplugging from technology, and connecting with nature. From waterskiing and tetherball.

I am from giving back. In song and dance and conversation. I am from conflict resolution, positivity, and motivation. I am a hand, a shoulder, and an ear.

I am from bell-ringing on winter nights, from lugging boxes of books to children who have none, from making bracelets with broken souls.

I am from long nights of studying at my kitchen island. From Multiplication Fast Facts in 3rd grade to Logs and Limits. From Phospholipids and Buffers and Titrations.

I am from High Honor Roll. From parents with great genes. From brothers who showed me the way.

After seeing my name in the newspaper for academics and sports, people have told me, “You’re the whole package.”

Whatever that means, I’m not sure.

What I know is that I am from tutus and jazz shoes.

From getting dirty and meeting new people.

From the love of learning and the love of the game.

From playing hard and winning trophies, but not being afraid to lose.

I am from taking risks.

I know where I am from.

These are my roots.

What no one knows is that I have this box of wings that I’m ready to try.

tweet us @rasjacobson & @audjacobson

What’s essays do you remember being assigned to write? Where are you from?

NOTE: I helped Audrey back in October by providing her with the “Where I’m From” meme when she was in the throes of essay writing, but all the words are her own. Thanks to Jenny Hansen for sharing her piece and to Sharla Lovelace for inspiring Jenny. If you go HERE, you will see this exercise is based on a poem by George Ella Lyon called “Where I’m From,” and if you’d like to try it yourself, the original link is there.

Click HERE for details on how you can enter to win a $25 gift card. 

49 responses to “Where She’s From

  1. Wow! What am incredible you lady Audrey is. I bet she does great things in the future and her wings will take her places she only imagined. Mazel tov to Audrey and to your whole family on her graduation.

    • I’ll pass that along, Boots. And like your daughter, I’m guessing she might even fly to places she had NO idea she’d ever go! It occurred to me that I only get to keep Tech for 4 more years, and then he’ll be that kid walking the stage. I can hardly imagine it.

      • Betsy Wahlquist

        Time is fleeting, it seems to run away at times. Enjoy the moments, now and for the next four years!

  2. What a beautiful and talented young lady! Kudos to her for all her accomplishments. Do you know that just this very morning I jumped out of bed at 5:00 am because I could not sleep and sat down to write ideas for my daughter for her college essay!!! She just finished Junior year and needs to write the essay over the summer. What timing.🙂 ps. Did you get my email with Tech’s letter?🙂

    • Hi Maria! Kids have to write soooo many essays these days! And it’s all online! Soooo different from when I went to college. Audrey came over with a TOTALLY different essay than this one, and she was kind of stuck. I tricked her into writing this one by framing it as a writing exercise, something to loosen her up. By the time she was finished, she had it. Sometimes you have to know when to let go of something that isn’t working. I’m so proud of her. We all are.

  3. It’s sweet to read this and remember finding your blog thanks to a post about where you’re from. Best wishes to your niece, although it sounds like wishes aren’t needed with her tenacity and spirit.🙂

  4. “I have this box of wings that I’m ready to try.”

    WOW. So, so powerful. It sort of clenched my heart. Fly high, Audrey.

  5. What a lovely and talented girl. Sounds like she’s got it all going on. Wishing her luck in her future college experiences. Congrats to her and your entire family. Have fun celebrating her accomplishments!!

  6. Your niece’s essay made me cry. She is a lovely and talented young woman. All the best to her in the future. She will do well in her college life, I’m sure. Congratulations to Audrey! Enjoy the celebrations.

    • Thanks Maire! Hopefully she’ll show up here to say a little something. And she makes all of us so proud. All of my nieces and nephews are so fabulous. Can’t believe Tech will be the next one to graduate. These next four years are going to whizz by. I can feel it.

  7. That’s very “wow”. I hope that the energy, spirit, and momentum which shine through in this letter continue to be with her throughout her life. It’s heartening to here such things from a young person, especially the compassionate parts…

    Best of luck to her as she goes off to college!

  8. I love the last line!!!! May she fly with those wings.

  9. Her essay gave me shivers! I bet she got a slew of acceptance letters. She will go very far in life! Congratulations Audrey!

    • She did, indeed, Soooooooz. We’re so proud of her! She’s a superstar. She (along with her brothers before her) have set the standard regarding what it means to be scholars/athletes/good humans. TechSupport has learned much from his cousins.

  10. Her first two lines are where I’m from, too. Congrats, Audrey!

    • It’s a great line, isn’t it? And honestly, it captures everything that she was struggling with in her FIRST draft. That she loved TWO things: dance and basketball (and cross-country). She does everything, this one!🙂

  11. Incredibly well written! Congrats to your niece and how exciting to be starting that chapter of your life – college and moving away for the first time! Bon voyage! Sounds like she’ll learn a lot and be ready for any challenge!

  12. Your niece obviously inherited the writer gene too, Renee. What a fabulous poem. She will go far, and she has a great family backing her up!

    • Aw shucks, Kass. Honestly, I married into a family with wicked good genes. I just saw Tech’s grades and…um…can we just say that I never earned grades like that in middle school. He’s already got 2 high school credits under his belt — and he hasn’t even started yet! I’m telling you, he’s the next one to walk across that stage. These next four years are going to whiz by.

  13. This is a college entrance essay? Phenomenal! Obviously the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, writing wise (the inference is that YOU, oh Miss Renz, are the Mighty Apple Tree Of Writing Goodness. You’re welcome.)

    Best of luck to Audrey in her college career – soar high and far.

    • Don’t you love this? She had to write TONS of essays; this was just one of them. What can I say? She came over a little stuck, and I helped unstick her. But seriously, she is an incredible girl, and she’s going to do great things. It’s a beautiful day to graduate: warm sun and blue skies. You can feel all that is possible in the air.

  14. What a great job she did! Best of luck to her. She sounds like she’s ready to do great things with those wings!

    I think the essay I chose to write about for my college application was: “Tell us one lesson you took away from your childhood.” or something to that effect. (Can you tell it didn’t really stay with me?)

    • Yeah, they have a lot more options than we did. I picked the same essay option you did and the ONLY reason I remember it is because my father found it and sent it to me. It was tapped out on a manual Smith Corona typewriter. And it’s horrible. I can’t believe I got into college. Believe it or not, it was kind of a #SoWrong moment, so maybe they liked that I was willing to make myself look like a total idiot. Or something.😉

  15. Beautiful! Talent definitely runs in your family.🙂

  16. Today is The Big Day for your niece.

    I’m going to “ditto” August’s comment. What college admissions committee wouldn’t clamber to have her on their honor roll?

    • Today is the big day, Gloria. We also have to attend a bat mitzvah,so it’s going to be a busy one for us. I’m glad to fill my days with joyous events. I can’t believe TechSupport will be ditching me in 4 years. Seriously, it floors me.

  17. She did a great job at this essay, very insightful for one still maturing into her skin.

  18. It’s beyond outstanding. And way beyond her years. Knowing that she is your niece, I can only say, “What a talent!” Knowing —- sadly and indubitably — how few college essays arrive in admissions’ offices unadulterated by “College Essays 4 Sale” outside keyboards, does leave this retired English teacher to pause a moment. And reflect upon the whole sad, sorry sometimes even sordid college admissions “process” these days faced by the hard-working thoroughly above average utterly unconnected middle class American high school students. . .

    • *screaming through the partition wall*

      Hi J!

      You are so right. So many kids are so very disillusioned, but not my niece. She is ready to face the world. SHe’s ready to go. In fact, she’s already gone off to camp to be an amazing camp counselor this summer! She never stops.

      J, I have no idea how you made it as long as you did. Seriously. These last years were exhausting.

  19. Wow! Brains, beauty, straight non-frizzy hair…. she has EVERYTHING!😉

  20. I took a 1932 typewriter and plenty of correctotape. My parents were able to afford to send me $8 a week. It was 1967. I still have the London Fogg mother bought me from Sears. The war was peaking.

  21. Oh, beautiful. That’s wonderful. I don’t really remember my college essays. I like writing (duh), so I think despite the pressure, I enjoyed the challenge, though it’s tricky to sum oneself up in an essay. That kind of reminds me of online dating profiles. Similar challenge.

    Your niece should have a lot of success, mazel, and blessing! All the best to her.

    • Thanks Rivki. SHe’s really a talented young woman. Off to do great things. Isn’t it weird how we forget about those essays we SLAVED to write? I never would have remembered mine, except my father found it and gave it to me. I should post it. It’s wicked bad. Seriously, I never would have gotten in to college with it today. Probably.😉

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