IMG_8541-1Name: Rachel Wolfe

Gender: Female

Grade: 12th

Occupation: Student

Future Occupation: Documentarian or Writer or Teacher or Education Policy Maker

Thesis: The attempt to be who we are supposed to be and to do what we are supposed to do has caused us to lose sight of what we love and who we are.

Question: How can we change this?


For the past thirteen years, I have lived in a place where paint never chips, people never loiter, and trash is never turned to litter.  A place where the opportunities for success are plentiful, but then again that depends on your definition of success.

I spent the first half of high school in a state of blind conformity, of résumé padding and unreasonable anxiety.  Junior year, I woke up.  I learned, or rather I was taught, to question; to challenge; to think.  I began to view myself as more than a GPA, SAT score, or list of extracurricular activities.  I started spending less time on activities I was doing because they “looked good” and more time trying to figure out what I love.  When I began to put my thoughts and questions and fears into words, I realized that what I love is writing.  When I gained enough confidence to actually share these thoughts and questions and fears, I realized that I was capable of making other people think, of making my classmates realize that they, too, are more than their applications.

For the past year and a half, I have been talking to teachers, parents, admissions officers, administrators, and, most of all, students in the attempt to give a voice to those who have been silenced by a culture that has led us to lose ourselves.  I chose to explain my thesis and my question in the form of a documentary split into several chapters because I want other people to see firsthand how we talk about this problem, how we react to this problem, and how we try to impose meaning on the meaningless.  I want us to recognize that we make a choice every single day to both go along with the values we think we are supposed to have and to inflict these values on those around us.  I want to make it known that there is another way.  That it is not only okay to choose another path, but necessary to pick up your own pencil or test tube or camera or calculator or paintbrush and start finding yourself.


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