Common App Essay Sample

Isabel Pardo

Prompt: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

 

Essay:

“Thank You for calling the Bernardsville Animal Hospital, this is Isabel speaking, how may I help you?”  I watch the last client be pulled out the door by a fluffy white German Shepherd puppy as I schedule an appointment for the client on the phone. I then resume with my other tasks–preparing files and appointments for the next day. I have specific responsibilities that I need to know how to do automatically and according to the doctor’s preferences; the necessity of ritual in a place that constantly changes is just one of many things I have learned while working here.

Heaving up two cases of  low-fat cat food cans and a bag of  dog kibble, I gingerly walk down the steps as my fingers uncomfortably grip the edges of the metal cans. One of the office cats, Quincy, scurries past me as I open the door to the storage room. The warm humid air sticks on my skin as I rest the food on the condensation covered freezer. The inside of it describes instructions for different meats and vegetables; however, there are no instructions for what lays inside. The euthanasia from this morning awaits the cremation company to come and take him away. I was the one to give his owners a comforting knowing smile as they left; we all knew it had to be done. As I stack the cases on their proper shelf, I ponder the irony of the fuzzy memento mori. On the same day we put down a dog, we welcome a puppy for his first appointment. This is a real hospital, but we deal with both the pets and their owners, and humans act very different around their animals. I feel much older after thinking that; then I quickly pace away from the dark opening into the rest of the basement; I don’t know what’s back there, and I do not want to know. I guess some childish tendencies never leave.

Quincy comes over to me as I prepare his dinner. He meows and places his grey fur-covered paw on my arm as he looks at me with desirous turmeric eyes. Amplified purrs rumble in his body as I place him with his food in his cage.

“Quincy, honey,” I say as I stroke his fur, “you have an unhealthier relationship with food than a teenage girl.” He ignores me as he continues to wolf down the wet stew-like delicacy that sits in front of him. I then piece the clinic back together: putting new syringes and stock in their respective drawers, sanitizing the exam rooms, and acting out the part of Cinderella as I mop the floors. After I decontaminate each room and ready it for tomorrow’s new mess, I am able to go home.

“See you on Thursday, Marla!” I call out.  

I clock out and lug out two black garbage bags like Santa Claus and deliver them to their cans. I listen to the doppler effect as cars blow my hair back when passing. Crossing the street becomes easier when drivers see a teenager dressed in enchanting medical green scrubs; personally, I hate the outfit, but it makes me feel respected. Ironically, I have no interest in pursuing the medical profession.

I sit in my car, take a deep breath, and pull my hair out of its ponytail. My hands still have the powdery feel from the plastic gloves mixed with the chemical smell from cleaning supplies. I take the crumpled notepad out from my pocket and look at my completed to-do-list: laundry, cut nails, give baths, make charts and call, clean, garbage. Then, there are the additional unwritten tasks the doctors trust me to do after months of being here. Before I put my car in reverse, I call my mom and let her know that I’ll be home in time for dinner.