This I Believe

Elana - Vista, California
Entered on June 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: purpose

Several months ago, during a time of little drive, and much uncertainty, I made bet with a very hungry classmate. Both entering the college application process, we agreed that “Whomever finished her apps first received a free lunch from the Panara Bread Store on the loser who did not finish”. Both seated behind hefty piles, we began our competition.

The Dilemma: She finished first.

The Facts

1. She is a tiny (<100 pounds) girl. 2. She, though tiny, eats like a horse. 3. A horse eats a lot. 4. A lot is more than I can afford. 5. More than I can afford is a multiple of $1. 6. $1 is what I pay for Ramen Noodle in a cup when I forget my lunch for school. 7. I forget my lunch quite often. 8. Many $1 have gone towards the Ramen Noodle. 9. I am out of $1’s. It is true, I did not come out triumphant in my college wager. Lunch ate up all of the money the University of California, Common Application, College Board, and International Baccalaureate examinations spared me. Though I have since restricted my ‘extravagances’- as my mother calls fast food- to the occasional Cup of Soup, I believe that wallet-draining competitions with peers get the work done. While She did complete her ten applications before I did, by the time she hit the floor for the first phase of her victory dance, I had completed eight. We talked often of our progress- tauntingly, playfully. Our mutual habit of announcing the number of completed applications in the hallways, or casually, while walking past Panara reiterated the rivalry and its incentive. Yes, I would have finished all applications regardless, and yes, not having money in my wallet for over two months- She did not take the pledge lightly!- was another, more hellish sphere overlooked by Dante. Perhaps the applications would have been of a higher quality had they been completed over five months. However, looking once more from a time of little drive, and much uncertainty, I can say it is only with the tug-of-war that I could return my focus to school, to friends, to life. Panara salivates more than I do when I decide to enter as a patron, but I am glad.