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Teacher Recommendations & Blueberry Donuts

The line started at the Airstream food truck and went straight across the path to the back of the nearby craft tent. I have little patience for lines and I had been monitoring this one from a distant shady spot for a good fifteen minutes before walking over. The line wasn’t getting any shorter, and I convinced myself that the wait for fresh blueberry cobbler would be worth it.

Not long after, a lady approached and asked if this vendor sold ice cream. She and I were both too short–and too far away–to see the menu but joked that whatever was offered must be good because the line was by far the longest at the Blueberry Festival. It was then that the young high school boy in front of me turned around to let us know that ice cream was an option with the cobbler. He also raved about the blueberry donuts and the blueberry muffins. He later shared that his girlfriend was working at the festival and he was hoping that he’d make it to the front of the line at about the same time her shift would end. At one point we laughed about the rainclouds moving in and whether the line would get shorter and if the food truck would still be open.

Eventually my husband found me in line and although the dark clouds were getting closer, he knew better than to suggest I skip the cobbler. At last the boy placed his order, which meant I was next. As the boy was walking away juggling his blueberry cobbler with ice cream (two spoons!) and two blueberry lemonades, he turned and said, “Nice to meet you.” Oh, how I wished that I knew his mother, so I could tell her what a kind, well-mannered son she had raised.

Students, this moment was just like the countless times I wish I had a direct line to admissions officers so that I could call them up and gush about your true character. Kindness matters. A lot. My hope is that your essay will clearly illustrate your character, but an essay still has limitations. Your integrity and personality are best described by others, which is why choosing teachers to write recommendations should be a careful decision. Who can share a memorable anecdote that displays how you interact with others? Not all colleges require teacher recommendations as part of their applications, but for those that do–and for the scholarships that do–who you choose is important. Take your time making that choice.

As for me, making a choice now that I was at the front of the line wasn’t easy. That young man had sold me on the donuts, but my focus was the cobbler. So, I ordered both - well worth the wait!

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