What My College Essay Should Have Been

Dear Admissions Board,

You have asked that I provide you with some insight into my world in 250-650 words. Below is my struggle, my endurance, my story.

I always knew that I was different from other kids at a very young age. It was a small difference, but a difference nonetheless, that shaped me into the person I am today. It was not until my freshman history class that I was able to put a label on who I am. I had always feared labels, scared they would define me, terrified it would be the only thing people saw. While I sat in my seat watching a video about such a small minority with this particular condition, a sense of relief washed over me because after years of confusion, I finally understood  — I am a super-sniffer.

Living as a super-sniffer is not easy. Anytime my friends ask me to go into Macy’s or Nordstrom’s, I have to decline because the perfume section of the store makes my nose clog. Anytime someone peels a tangerine or opens a pack of peanut butter in class, no matter how far away they are, I know. My nose is highly sensitive to poor hygiene; sometimes, I become light headed. It may seem like a curse, but through a positive outlook and a determination not to let my abilities get me down, I have prevailed. It took me a while to accept that my super-sniffing abilities were a positive, a talent. However, once I was able to come to a place of acceptance, I have been able to use my nose to aid others. Whether it be helping the elderly know if their food smells good or finding a friend the perfectly scented candle, I have dedicated myself to helping others and hope to continue doing so on your campus.

Oftentimes I am forced to struggle with the cruelty of others, from students to adults. Many are in disbelief that such a select group of people as super-sniffers exist, and furthermore, that I am one of them. Mockery is often the response I receive; even my own family has ostracized me at times. When I told my siblings, they laughed and made fun of me. I had to prove myself time and time again, often having to blindfold myself to show that I could identify any object with only my nose. I take comfort in the support teachers and close friends have given me as I continue to come to terms with how to live amongst a society that will never understand what I go through daily.

I know that my college life will be harder than most because of who I am, but I was born this way and nothing will take away what makes me an individual. You need me on your campus, both for diversity’s sake and so that when I write a book about my struggles, your name will be on my back cover. Accept me and you’ll have one of the most unique students in the nation on your campus. Accept me and I will still pay the school after I graduate.

Thank you for your consideration.

Caitlin Antonios is a second year Literary Journalism and English double major. She can be reached at cfantoni@uci.edu.