Friday, August 20, 2010

It's All In The Cards

She stopped reading and rubbed her eyes.

“Is that it?” she said, and sighed and shook her head when her assistant pushed five more envelopes across the desk. Part of the job, she thought. The hard part.

As Director of Admissions at an elite college, she spent many long days sharing coffee and discussions with her team. There were too many qualified teenagers with similar credentials vying for the limited available spots still unfilled. Now, she needed to make final decisions on this last batch of applications left in the Yes or No pile.

Opening the next envelope, she read the name on the cover letter. “Ah, a male applicant,” she said. “We need more males to balance the freshman class.” Her assistant nodded and wrote in a notepad.

The letter consisted of eight sentences: My transcript shows I am an excellent student and more than capable to continue my studies in a stringent college environment. All awards, civic activities, inclusion in sports teams, summer employments, and teacher recommendations are attached as well.

As for my personal essay, when I was in first grade, my teacher had us write on note cards as part of an assignment. We had to say something we admired about our fellow students. Enclosed are the cards written about me. They were true then. They still are. Thank you for your consideration.

She shook the envelope, and a confetti of brightly colored laminated cards fell onto her desk. She glanced at her assistant, who held out her hands palm side up and shrugged her shoulders. Spreading them as if playing a game of solitaire, she looked at each one.

-Brian is smart and reads lots of books.

-He is fun and loves to sing.

-Brian knows lots of big words.

-He is kind and knows how to fix things.

-Brian helps anyone. Even if he doesn't like you.

-He brings good snacks. He shares his lunch if you forgot to bring one.

-He is good at sports. And wins!

And this one from his teacher: Brian is a leader.

She read all the rest, and put them and the supporting documents back in the envelope. Placing it on the small pile on the right side of her desk, she looked at her assistant, who smiled and handed her another one.

© 2010 Marisa Birns

55 comments:

  1. That is so awesome!!! I absolutely love it :)

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  2. A great slice of life Marisa. I like the interplay with the assistane..:)

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  3. That's awesome! Love it! Great job with this.

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  4. It's because he brings snacks, isn't it? That's the one that really sealed it.

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  5. Cheery, like a great big sunflower or a bouquet of daisies. Can you imagine how wonderful this application would seem to a teacher who had seen way, way too many plain, boring letters? You write the list SO well - it's exactly what youngsters would write about each other; and so funny, and yet so true, for the teenager.
    So much fun, Marisa! Oh, and by the way, this technique works equally well in job searches. I once sent wrote an application on a full sized sheet of bristol board ... and got the job. Next time I'm going to try your idea!

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  6. Absolutely lovely, Marisa. I'd have accepted his application, too.

    I love this story. Love. It's such a pleasure to visit you each week. :)

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  7. Cute idea Marisa! You had a happy one this time. :)

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  8. That was adorable. Thank you for writing it, Marisa.

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  9. Good story! This was a lot of fun to read. That was certainly a clever way to make an impression and stand out from the rest.

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  10. This was great and fell on the day in the UK when the exam results are published & students scurry about trying to land their places at Universities! How timely.

    Marc Nash

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  11. How to stand out and make an impression - lovely happy story Marisa, thank you :-)

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  12. Great I love it - particularly because I have cards like that from an exercise at work many years ago and I kep them too - in my CV file lol. Brilliantly written

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  13. Yup! It's all there, in the cards, for sure! Well done, Marisa.

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  14. Wonderfully creative piece Marisa! Love it!

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  15. Such a positive affirmation of all things right and good in the world.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  16. What a GREAT idea, Marisa! I will try that next. I've tried everything else to find work. :-)

    Great writing! You are so versatile! :-)

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  17. Thank you for your comment on my #fridayflash story- I'm glad you did comment otherwise I might have missed this lovely story!

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  18. A thought provoking piece. Are we the same person we were in kindergarten? Loved this one.

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  19. There is something so strange and delightful about someone keeping those cards all those years. And yet it's a little creepy as well. Great story.

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  20. Well done as usual. I'm sure I will think about this story as my daughter goes to her first day of first grade on Monday! Great read. Thanks.

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  21. Awwww. Who says the things we learn in first grade aren't with us the rest of our lives?

    Sweet story!

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  22. Oh, I love this one. Great story! :)

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  23. Oh, this really made me smile. What a great story. Those little things that make us who we are really never change.

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  24. Big Fat Grin! Love reading your quick fiction!

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  25. The fact that he kept them strikes me as odd for some reason, but even so I'd be putting him in the "Yes" pile for sure. I would have to meet the guy. You encapsulated this feeling beautifully.

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  26. Thank you all for your comments. Poor Brian. It was his mother who kept all his work during his growing up years. As mothers are wont to do. Including a lock of his baby hair. :)

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  27. Very cute story, Marisa. We are in the process of doing applications for my kids for next year. It's a really hideous process and they haven't even hit elementary school yet! argh! Nice tale.

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  28. Marisa;

    This is awesome. Love the children's notes. Very believable.

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  29. And I pass the cuteness award to... Mari-girl!

    Lovely story Mari-girl. I'd not hesitate to accept him either. :)

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  30. Awww, loved it! I'd accept him. What better recommendation for college than from one's peers?

    CD

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  31. How fun! Excellent story, m'dear.

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  32. Great story! We once did that exercise in a team at work and I kept all mine too! didn't laminate them though!

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  33. Thank you, Claire for coming over for a visit and leaving a comment! Appreciate it very much. I'm sure your cards had only wonderful things to say. :)

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  34. What a clever way to make an impression - bright kid, but then that's the point, isn't it? Nice that she is one to use judgment as well, and not an bureaucratic automaton who would reject someone for not following prescribed form.
    ~jon

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  35. Love the story! I so admire writers who can convey so much in so little space. The characters, all, came across so clearly. Thank you for sharing!

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  36. Lovely. And heartening to see someone take a creative risk and have it pay off, even in a work of fiction.

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  37. What a lovely confection of a story. Really well done.

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  38. A fresh and uplifting story, Marisa. How could the woman not select his appllication?

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  39. While I would be a little creeped out by him, I'd still select him too! "On the cards" is a great title for this - it really was on the cards

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  40. That's actually a neat way of making your application stand out!! Lovely little flash there.

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  41. I love these friday flashes that you guys do -- they are so awesome and this one is great!
    I agree with Karen -- I like Brian.

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  42. You have me grinning so hard my cheeks hurt/ Wonderful story. Peace...

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  43. How could you not select him?

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  44. I'd accept him I think. Not only is he creative, but, lordy, he saved those from first grade?

    Wonderful story.

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  45. If this were me, I would have added the note from my first grade teacher, "Stephen can hold his breaht for 37 seconds." Great light hearted blog. Thanks.

    Stephen Tremp

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  46. My mother would definitely have kept such cards. It's embarrassing to think what might be lurking in some box in her basement.

    Anyway, this is a neat story, Marisa. Love the premise involved, which you expand upon nicely.

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  47. Refreshing and enjoyable slice of life. Love it!

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  48. Thank you for making me smile! I'd take him in a second.

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  49. stopping by to see if you had something else up! :-)

    As for your comment on the blog - yes! aroma! I can be instantly transported with just a whiff of something . . . your comment had a poignant wistful tone to it . . .

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  50. That's really sweet! I bet he was top of the acceptance list.

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  51. Really cute. I love it.

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