Why Reed?

Reed’s application supplement is an essay that asks you to answer one simple question: Why Reed? As Reed’s admission deadlines approach, we’re launching a series of blog posts from current freshmen reflecting on their Why Reed essays.

Grace Fetterman ’16

Greetings, Prospie. The Great Work Begins.

Grace in her Reed dorm room.

In the fall of my senior year in high school, I conducted a Pavlovian-esque conditioning regime on myself: if I worked on college applications for an hour and a half every day, I would be able to scavenge the Reed website and Reed viewbook while blasting ABBA’s “Take a Chance on Me.” This proved to be a potent reward for my exertion. Gaping at pictures of the canyon or online window shopping for a bib with a griffin on it, I would habitually fantasize about barging in on an admission meeting to perform my rendition of the aforementioned Swedish pop hit and convince Reed to, indeed, take a chance on me and grant me admittance.

During one of these respites, I took an electronic stroll to the Hum 110 syllabus page. I had already explored the fall program of study, so I decided to appraise the spring semester. The tenth item on the list, Plato’s The Republic, caught my attention. Some interpret Plato’s Cave as an allegory to illustrate “our nature in education and want of education.” I wondered to myself, “What would Plato think about Reed?” And at that fortuitous intersection of my interlude, my Why Reed essay was born. It took several tries, and we wrangled a great deal, my essay and I, but eventually, I got my writing to a place where I felt confident my voice and passion for Reed had finally united.

At first, the Reedie within will be difficult to summon and bring forth. He or she might be fourche and apprehensive. His or her glasses may be prone to fogging at social gatherings.  Perchance your inner Reedie is sequestered on the davenport, absorbed in a New York Times article about snail ranchers. But fret not. Despite his or her introspective tendencies, your reticent Reedie shall confidently reveal itself to you in due time. The Reedie inside may not fully emerge when you are writing your first, or even seventh draft of the Why Reed essay. Do not try to force the internal Reedie to crop up in your writing. Be patient and be kind to yourself. You can’t forget to pause every once in a while. Maybe your inner Reedie isn’t a fan of the musical stylings of Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad like mine. For all one knows, he or she could be a Barry Manilow aficionado. Regardless, your Reedie will know when it’s time to manifest itself and bust a move.

Good luck. I am confident you will radiate.


Excerpt from Grace’s Why Reed essay:

[Gracesidemus:] And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far Reed College is enlightened: –Behold! fervent intellectuals living in an underground, shamanistic den, which has a mouth open towards food carts on Hawthorne and 12th, and reaching all along the Pacific Northwest. Here Reedies gladly chain themselves to intense scholarly undertakings, and wholeheartedly tether themselves to one another. These shackles signify the unswerving, unmitigated dedication to studies, and the steadfast partnership among these masterminds. This is a grotto of effervescence where indefatigable, and tenacious academics are unceasingly burgeoning.

And examine how the students see the true sum and substance of obtaining an all-embracing education. The ironclad expectations and rigorous exertion are the immediate source of reason and truth in these intellectuals. The fire throws futile letter grades and employment conditioning on the opposite side of the wall. Reed is a Valhalla of understanding.

But the Prospie will suffer sharp pains; her euphoric cave visit has reached its denouement. The drizzle awakened her senses; the fecund students galvanized her encephalon, and the luminescence of the Thesis Tower brought her soul to fruition. She chained herself to the cave from the second she infiltrated it, and Fetterman will never be unfettered.

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