What I liked
What seems so simple but what runs contrary to what the world coaxes high school students to believe is that they don’t need to pretend to be anyone other than themselves to write a compelling essay; they already have everything they need within them. I won’t overly flatter myself by claiming that my enthusiastic reassurance was life-changing for these high school seniors, but what was especially powerful about my time with TMA was watching, throughout the course of our sessions, this philosophy truly sink in. Though students would often come into the first meeting on guard, like I imagine my eighteen-year-old self would, through the process of talking about their family, their friends, the parts of their life that energized them and made them tick, their tightly secured armor would begin to loosen. As the process of writing the college essay continued simultaneously alongside guided free-writes and they were given the space to simply talk about themselves and what they cared about, they began, eventually, to associate the college process not with the expectations of others, but as a true process of discovery: one that is worthwhile and meaningful no matter where they end up.
My mentor was absolutely amazing!