Don’t Ask Me Why

My oldest child, who is in 10th grade, is in the process of applying for board positions of the various clubs at her school, as well as for summer jobs, internships and grants for trips abroad. Over dinner tonight she regaled us with tales from the over-complicated application process; one requested her to “write a haiku about your favorite historical event.” (We had a little fun with that: “Underground railroad/Ferried slaves from south to north/Hare-yet Beecher Stowe” or “Students in Berlin/ Chipping paint-flecked bits of wall/Communism’s dead.”) Every single application asks what she considers the worst question imaginable: why are you interested in this trip/program/position? It’s tantamount to asking kids to lie, she says, since everyone knows the only honest answer is, “because I want to get into a good college.” Surely not the answer they’re looking for.

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About Susan H. Greenberg

Susan H. Greenberg spent 22 years as a journalist for Newsweek Magazine. She now works as a writer, editor, teacher, and parent of three children, with whom she strives always to maintain a varnish-free relationship.
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