The Idea of an Essay, Volume 4

Narrative & Memoir 61 Literacy Narrative Katelyn Whalen Tap. Tap. Tap. My sneaker breaks the silence in the room I sit. The only color on the grey walls is the bright cartoonish posters talking about respect and character. Down the hallway the sound of Katy Perry’s “Roar” tickles my ear. I look again at the flier that says, “YMCA Youth and Government;” it was a random flier that my mom was about to throw away before I snatched it from her. I wasn’t here to have fun. I wasn’t here to learn about government. I was here to put this on my college application. The door started to creak open, and a short, brunette girl with greasy hair in a hoody appeared. “Hey, you here for YAG?” she asked. “Yeah, my name’s Katelyn. What’s yours?” “I’m Erin and this is my 5th year. I don’t know who’s coming, so it might just be us.” Ten minutes later I was staring at a mismatched group of people around a table. There was designer-decked sisters Raissat and Rayma, fresh-faced Carson, Erin, and me. We all eventually started to stare at Erin, the only veteran in the room. “Now I’m not going to lie. This is a hard club. Do I love it? Yes. Will this be tough? You bet, but if we work together we can get this done,” she said. That would set the tone for the rest of our time together. The most fundamental part of Youth and Government is writing a bill. It is the requirement of everyone in the program. You might decide to be a lawyer, lobbyist, or judge in the program, but you will write a bill. Only a week into the program and I heard, “So now we’re going to talk about bills. You have to write one just like you would if you were in Congress right now. It needs to have a detailed plan with a clear way to pay for your bill, a start date, and penalties to enforce infractions,” Erin said. This is exactly what I didn’t want to hear. I was a junior in high school who didn’t want to waste the time; I had bigger things to handle.