Summary and Experience

When I begin to read (or reread) any book, I like to take a gander at the copyright page. You know, the one with the author’s name and the date of publication and all that fancy information – the page that every student hates visiting to write a bibliography. I do this mostly because I’m a bibliophile and a publishing nerd by nature.

Anyway, I like to look at the publisher’s summary of the book. Most young adult novels have words like anorexia, maturation, school life, or family drama. These phrases are generally useless for the reader; however, the summary offers some insight into the book, no matter how shallow it may seem. The summary of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go is as follows:SUMMARY: Advice in rhyme for proceeding in life; weathering fear, loneliness, and confusion; and being in charge of your actions.This 19-word summary could describe virtually anything.

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It’s anonymous.

It’s ambiguous. It’s my education.The famous line adults say to kids is “High school will be the best time of your life.” Best time of my life? Well, my high school years are almost up, and I wouldn’t say they were the greatest. I wouldn’t say they were horrible either. I would probably need a novel’s worth of paper to explain them (but then my summary would sport words like maturation, school life, and family drama, and that wouldn’t be good). But that’s the point: nothing, no book, no time period, not even a day at the park, can be properly described in a few phrases.

Nothing is what it appears, even books. The same is true with the places I’m going.I know this time next year I’ll be at one of the colleges I applied to, but I know little beyond that. I do not know how the quad will smell after three sweaty boys have been playing Frisbee on the grass. I do not know what days I will be up all night studying or if I will have a boyfriend who likes books as much as I do. More importantly, I cannot predict what newspaper or publishing house I’ll intern at. I cannot say how good my French pronunciation will become or what grad school I’ll attend.

Much like the insufficient description of Oh, the Places You’ll Go, no college website or guidance counselor can truly sum up what I will face next year. At college, I expect to find an open community of learners where my nerdy mind can feast. And I expect to develop my passions for writing and reading. And no matter what textbook or novel I’m cracking, I know I will first turn to the copyright page, knowing that there’s more to anything that meets the eye, even a French grammar book.

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