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留学文书共赏 || 别人家的大学申请文书(三)

《纽约时报》每年都在高三学生中公开征集关注金钱、工作或者阶层的大学申请文书。在今年海量投稿中,有几篇文书脱颖而出。今天推送佐伊-索蒂尔的申请文书。她来自麻省安多佛的菲利普斯中学,计划就读于哥伦比亚大学。

 

 

‘My Dell hid my privilege and my Mac hid my financial need’

“戴尔笔记本隐藏了我的特权,而苹果笔记本隐藏了我的窘境。”

 

The most exciting part was the laptop.

最令人兴奋的部分是那台笔记本电脑。

 

My mom grabbed the thick envelope out of my hands and read off the amenities associated with the Tang Scholarship to Phillips Academy: full tuition for all four years, a free summer trip, $20 a week for me to spend on all the Cheetos and nail polish my heart desired, and finally, a free laptop.

妈妈从我手中抢过厚厚的信封,逐项读出菲利普斯中学唐氏奖学金的各种好处,包括四年的全免学费、一次免费的暑假游、每周足够用来购买念念不忘的奇多薯片和做美甲的20美元零花钱,以及一台免费的笔记本电脑。

 

I had never had a computer of my own before, and to me the prospect symbolized a world of new possibilities. I was the only student from my public middle school I knew to ever go to an elite boarding school, and it felt like being invited into a selective club. My first week at Andover, dazed by its glamour and newness, I fought my way to the financial aid office to pick up the laptop; I sent my mom a photo of me grinning and clutching the cardboard box. Back in my dorm room, I pulled out my prize, a heavy but functional Dell, and marveled at its sleek edges, its astonishing speed.

我以前从未有过自己的电脑。对我来说,这样的前景代表着一个充满全新机会的世界。就我知道,我是我们公立初中校史上第一个进入精英寄宿高中的学生,感觉就像受邀加入一个高级俱乐部。在安多佛的第一个礼拜,它的魅力和新奇令我眼花缭乱。我好不容易找到助学金办公室,取走笔记本电脑。我笑眯眯地抱着硬纸箱子,拍了一张照片,发给妈妈。回到宿舍以后,我取出奖品。这是一台很重但功能齐全的戴尔笔记本电脑。它流畅的线条和惊人的速度,令我惊叹不已。

 

But the love story of my laptop came clamoring to a halt. In the library, as I stumbled to negotiate a space to fit in, I watched my friends each pull out a MacBook. Each was paper-thin and seemingly weightless. And mine, heavy enough to hurt my back and constantly sighing like a tired dog, was distinctly out of place. My laptop, which I had thought was my ticket to the elite world of Andover, actually gave me away as the outsider I was.

然而,我跟这台笔记本电脑的爱情故事戛然而止。在图书馆,当我还在磕磕绊绊地谋求合适的地方插电脑,我看到朋友们都拿出各自的苹果笔记本。每台笔记本都像纸一样薄,看上去无比轻盈。但是我的电脑非常笨重,不仅压得背痛,而且还常常像疲乏的小狗一样发出叹气声,显然在这里格格不入。我曾经以为我的笔记本电脑是我进入安多佛精英世界的门票,但事实上却暴露我不过是个外人而已。

 

For a long time, this was the crux of my Andover experience: always an outsider. When I hung out with wealthier friends, I was disoriented by how different their lives were from mine. While they spent summers in Prague or Paris, I spent mine mining the constellation of thrift stores around New Haven. The gap between full-scholarship and full-pay felt insurmountable.

在很长的一段时间里,这成为我在安多佛经历中的难题,即我只是个外人。当我跟有钱的朋友外出,我为我跟他们之间的生活差异而深感沮丧。当他们在布拉格或者巴黎度过暑假的时候,我却在纽黑文市周围遍布的廉价小店中淘宝。全奖生和自费生之间的鸿沟似乎无法跨越。

 

But I also felt like an outsider going to meetings for the full-scholarship affinity group. My parents attended college and grew up wealthier than I did, giving me cultural capital many of my full-scholarship friends never had access to. Moreover, I’m white and could afford occasional concert tickets or sparkly earrings. The laptop, carried by all full-scholarship students and coded with hidden meanings, pivoted my friends’ understandings of me. At home, I grew up middle class, then became the privileged prep school girl. But at Andover, suddenly, I was poor. Trying to reconcile these conflicting identities, I realized how complex and mutable class is. My class is connected to my parents’ income, but it’s also rooted in cultural knowledge and objects that are charged with greater meaning.

但是,我去参加全奖生联谊小组会议时也感觉像个外人。我的父母都上过大学,他们小时候家境都比较好,给予我很多全奖生朋友从来没有接触过的文化资本。另外,我是白人,偶尔也能有钱买票去听音乐会或者买耀眼的耳环。那台戴尔笔记本电脑,因为全奖生们都不离身而被编入隐藏的涵义,所以也成为朋友们理解我的支点。在家里,我是中产阶级的女儿,上了有特别优势的预备学校。但是在安多佛,我突然成了穷人。在努力调和这些相互冲突的身份时,我意识到阶层是多么复杂易变的事情。我的阶层跟我父母的收入有关,但是它也深深扎根于充满更宽泛涵义的文化知识和目标里。

 

Which brings me back to the laptop: in the middle of my senior fall, my exhausted Dell broke and I couldn’t afford another. When I managed to borrow a slim Mac from my school, I felt the walls around me reorient. I hoped that now I wouldn’t have to think about the electric web of privilege and power every time I sent an email. Instead, I felt a new anxiety: I worried when I sat in the magnificent dining hall with my beautiful computer that I had lost an important part of my identity.

回头接着说那台笔记本电脑:在高三年级第一学期期间,我的戴尔笔记本用坏掉了,我买不起新电脑。后来我想办法从学校借了一台薄款苹果笔记本,我感觉自己周围的高墙换了个方向。我希望现在每次发电子邮件的时候都不需要考虑所谓的特权电子网络。相反,我感受到新的焦虑:我担心当自己带着靓丽的电脑坐在大饭厅里的时候,我已经失去身份中的重要组成部分。

 

When I started at Andover, these constant dueling tensions felt like a trap: like I would never be comfortable anywhere. (The school sensed it too, and all full-financial aid students now receive MacBooks.) But maybe it’s the opposite of a trap. Maybe I’m culturally ambidextrous, as comfortable introducing a speaker on the stage of Andover’s century-old chapel as getting my nose pierced in a tattoo parlor in New Haven. My hyperawareness of how my Dell hid my privilege and how my Mac hid my financial need pushed me to be aware of what complicated stories were hiding behind my classmates’ seemingly simple facades. I am a full-scholarship student who benefits from cultural, socioeconomic and racial privilege: my story isn’t easy, but it’s still mine.

当我刚进安多佛,那些常常针锋相对的紧绷状态感觉就像是一个陷阱:好像我在任何地方都不会自在。(学校也感受到这点,现在给全奖生的也是苹果笔记本电脑)但现在可能则是跟陷阱截然相反的感觉。我在文化上基本可以双管齐下,一面站在安多佛百年教堂里得心应手地介绍嘉宾,一面在纽黑文市的纹身店里随心所欲地穿鼻孔。戴尔笔记本隐藏了我的特权,而苹果笔记本隐藏了我的窘境,我对于这些情况都心知肚明,并且督促自己去认识同学们看似简单的外表背后都隐藏着多么复杂的故事。我是一名全奖生,但是我在文化、社会经济和种族方面却有既得特权:我的故事不简单,但这仍然是我的故事。

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