JustJobs.com’s scholarship program is proud to announce Rebecca Leff as one of the three finalists for its December deadline application. Vote for her essay by clicking the thumbs up button at the bottom of the page, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.
Rebecca Leff’s Essay:
How did you choose your major? What obstacles have you had to overcome and what will it mean to you to graduate with this degree?
If you asked me about poetry, I could tell you something about history’s famous poets. I could quote the popular theories on Shakespeare’s sonnets, cite my favorite T.S. Eliot passages, maybe even recite E.E. Cummings’ Somewhere I Have Never Traveled,Gladly Beyond from memory purely because I have read it so many times. But I can’t tell you why Shakespeare sat down, quill in hand, to write his 116th sonnet. I can’t tell you if hurt to put the words on the page or if set him free. And I’m never going to be able to tell you those things.
But I can you tell you what his words mean to me. I can tell you that everytime I watch Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility and I hear Mariane quote that sonnet as she gapes at the sight of Allenham Mannor that my world changes. I can tell you that I know what it means when love is unhinged, when it “ bends with the remover to remove,” “when it looks on tempests and is shaken.” I can tell you that in the hindsight of the 394 years since Shakespeare wrote that ”If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved,” that man has loved. And I can tell you that his words changed something because I can tell you with all certainty and all truth that his words have changed me.
Change. It’s a powerful thing. For a long time I was afraid that with all the people in this world that I would get swallowed up, that out of the billions of people on this earth, I would be nothing because I wasn’t Mozart or Spielberg, afraid that I was doomed to be Salieri looking up at Mozart, saying why, why couldn’t it be me. And maybe, maybe, if I just tried a little harder that I would never have to hear Mozart’s music with a tinge of sadness, that I would hear that music and be proud that it was mine. And sure, I still want those things. I’m no saint. But it isn’t what sets me on fire. It isn’t what let’s me burn. I will always create. I will always write. And I will always sing. Not because I want to, but because I have to. Because I don’t know how to live any other way. And I will be content with that life.
But I dream of change. I dream that someday someone will sit at their computer at 2:30 am, as I am doing right now, and instead of writing about how Shakespeare’s 116th sonnet set them ablaze that they will say that the screenplay Rebecca Leff wrote ignited an inferno that burned with such fervor that the glow could be seen for miles. You don’t have to be Nelson Mandela to throw a pebble into the water, but boulder or pebble, you still can make a wave. And it’s the pebbles that end up making the difference. I was in ninth grade and it was maybe 2:00 or 3:00 am when a pebble set this wave in motion. I had just been watching a documentary and to tell you truth I can’t even remember what the documentary was about. But at the time it moved me, and I was too unsetteled to go to sleep. So, when this film popped up on my television screen at 2:00 or 3:00 am I didn’t let the sand man take me away. I watched it. It was a film that no one has ever heard of, that I can’t even find to see again, and it was a film that changed my life. For the first time I picked up my pen and just wrote.
Writing felt like falling in love. At first it was a rush, but then it got painful and sometimes I had to walk away. And yet I gave my heart out knowing that it might come back in pieces for the chance, that one chance, that I would surface from the depths of emotion with something beatiful, a momment without worry, a momment without fear. That morning I felt something so passionate that there was no turning back. So, I give myself out to you now, knowing that I might come back in pieces for the chance, that one chance, that my dream just might come true, that where ever I end up might bring me one step closer to that dream. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have known since 9th grade that I would be a film major. I didn’t know that I would be double majoring with legal studies and pursuing a minor in music. All I knew is that I wanted to make films ad I wanted to take classes that inspired creation. I wanted to right wrongs and tell truths. I wanted to dig my hands into the earth and come out with a flower. But film is scary. It’s not the easiest career. And sometimes I wake up in the morning breathing in long breaths, sweating because I’m afraid I can’t do this. But I have to. I couldn’t live knowing I didn’t try. If I want to live and not just exist, I have to try.