Thursday, May 4, 2006

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

I love to write. I'm not creative and could never write a book or anything, but if you give me a subject, I'll go to town. This is probably one of the things that has made me a professional student. As I get older, I love learning more than I did when I was in high school or my early twenties. But also, I love writing papers, I know it's the one thing that I'll for sure get an "A" on with little to no effort.

Ayn Rand's novels, which I read for the first time when I was 19, really identified a lot of who I am for me at a time when I couldn't really articulate it for myself. When I first read them, I wholeheartedly embraced every aspect of her philosophy. As I get older, there are pieces that I no longer agree with, but I still love to read her.

When I read Atlas Shrugged, Fransisco D'Anconia's money speech resonated so loudly with me, I still get chills- there's nothing else in the world that I've read (or heard) that is so true for me. This, despite the fact that I'm poor, and will never have a lot of excess money with the career I will enter in a couple of years. But, rich or poor is not the issue, the issue is respect for what money really is.

Anyway, there is an essay contest for students every year for Ayn Rand's novels. The Atlas Shrugged contest is for college students. Last year, one of the topics a student could choose from is Fransisco's money speech. I had to enter because that speech meant so much to me. Having my essay chosen, even as a semi-finalist, would have been the biggest honor in the world for me. But, it wasn't.

That was a huge disappointment to me because I worked so hard and it was so important to me. And it was good, really good. I decided not to enter this year because I don't want the let down. Yet that is contradictory to what I believe. I should be happy that I put forth my best effort and was proud of my work.

Now, I'm trying to talk myself into entering again. My biggest argument against would be my school. There's no way a 30-year-old student from a private college with absolutely no admissions standards whatsoever could have their essay chosen amongst essays submitted by students from "real" colleges that have "real" admissions standards. When you view the list of winners, there are only a couple from colleges like mine, every other college has it's fair share of prestige.

But then, ARI exists to further the work of Objectivism, and as such, rewards the best product (which obviously was not mine!).

Hmmm... me and my little problems.

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