College Essay

Submitted By jamievaldez
Words: 1265
Pages: 6

Select a creative work: a novel, a film, a poem, a musical piece, a painting, or other work of art that has influenced the way you view the world and the way you view yourself. Discuss the work and its effect on you. (University of Virginia/William and Mary/NYU)

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller is a story about a man who talks about what he learned while editing his life. Miller is given the chance to turn one of his books into a movie, and the movie producers who work with him criticize his book and decide to edit it greatly. In the process of turning the book into a movie, Miller learns what makes a story interesting and meaningful. As the story progresses, Miller chooses to turn his own life into something more worthwhile as he does things he has never done before, drops his fears, and celebrates the wonders of life. The author writes a great amount of memorable quotes, and three of them have captivated my mind. Those three quotes forever changed my perspective on journeys, how to react to things, and taking action.
Miller writes, “I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can’t see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.” This spoke to me in a way where Miller tells me that working for something is a long journey and just because the end seems far away, almost unmoving, it does not mean you should give up. I am able to recall a few personal experiences in which I had faced the decision to give up because all my efforts seemed like they were not making a difference. A specific example is my weight loss. For me, it was a significant journey because I felt no progress was being made as the days went by and I felt like giving up. As soon as I decided to stop exercising, I heard Miller’s words in my head telling me that I just have to keep moving forward. His words rang through my head for two months and I lost about fifteen pounds. I have never been more proud of myself. The feeling of pride and accomplishment motivates me to keep doing well because I know that my future self would be glad I did not give up. Whenever I feel like quitting, I like to remember my progress and I know that at the end, everything pays off. Another quote that stood out to me was, “When something happens to you, you have two choices in how to deal with it. You can either get bitter, or get better.” When I read this, my eyes were opened to a new way of perceiving the world. As simple as the quote sounds, it spoke to me in a multitude of ways. To me, it said, “Time spent being unhappy is time wasted.” A memory I do not like to remember that strongly displays this quote is when my best friend and I got into a huge fight. Though this may sound petty, but it affected me greatly because I felt strongly for this person. I had lied to her about something significant for a year and neglected to tell her the truth, but she eventually found out and when she did, I had sunk to the lowest state of mind a human being could possibly ever be at. I had no desire to do or be anything. It took me about a year to fully recover from this, and I had not read Miller’s book up until a couple of months ago. After reading his book and finding that quote, I realized only then that I had wasted a year of my life being bitter to everyone and myself simply because of something I could not move on from. From then on, I decided I would never waste another day treating others and myself in the worst possible way. Whenever I feel sad or lowly, I remember that no one is benefitting from my…