Flashback Friday: Driving Miss Jordyn

In honor of me combing through my computer and old word documents that I wrote back in high school, I am posting the personal statement I used when applying for colleges.

Note: I now have a driver’s license but definitely reminiscing on the times I didn’t. How liberating they were.

Driving Miss Jordyn

“Jordyn, why don’t you have your driver’s license yet?” Dad asked as he inched the car forward on the congested Kennedy expressway.

“This is why,” I murmured as I gazed out the window, watching the Chicago Transit Authority blue line train effortlessly rumble past.

When I was younger I counted the days until I could run out of the Department of Motor Vehicle office, hands victoriously in the air, declaring, “I finally have my license!” As I jet towards the driver’s seat of the car, Dad hands me the coveted keys and my endless freedom is unlocked. Today I am a year past my sixteenth birthday and the clock still ticks to the day I will obtain my license. Yet, I no longer yearn for my driver’s license as I did before I acquired my Chicago Transit fare card.

Every morning at 6:53 I squeeze onto the packed train with my hump of a backpack. My frostbitten ears tune into the embellished phone conversations and familiar announcements. Doors open on the right at Western. The baby in the stroller next to me cries as his mother tries to pacify him. The man with the ragged clothes and potent odor mumbles under his breath. Nestled between the people on the train, I begin to feel my life amalgamating with theirs as we make our journey through Chicago. Maybe I should practice my driving more. Gradually, I ease my way through the crowd to a window seat, where all the sights of the vibrant metropolis await.

As the train travels through each distinct neighborhood, I spot the family-owned Chinese restaurant in Chinatown I frequent and see the world-renowned Garrett’s Popcorn Shop. We pass the many taco carts sprinkled over the street corners of the Pilsen neighborhood. The train slowly winds another curve and below a businessman furiously runs to reach the bus before it drives off towards the downtown skyline. At each stop I welcome more distracted investment bankers, tired students, expectant mothers and hardy construction workers. Some read the New York Times while other passengers extravagantly recount stories in Polish, Spanish and Mandarin. We all have our different destinations, yet are connected through our encounters.

Over the collective voices of the passengers, my father’s words resonate, encouraging me to acquire a license for the comfort and convenience of a car. However, I hesitate to confine myself behind four doors deprived of unique experiences. In the car, I only maintain a window view to life because the valuable interactions with others along the way are lost. Within the train I cultivate my desire to learn from people’s differences, leading me to celebrate the diversity present on the train and in the city. Each day as the train moves its way to the heart of Chicago my world expands and permits me to be an active participant in my environment.

One day, I am sure I will attain my license. But for now I’m here, not wishing to be anywhere else.


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