Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thoughts on Adulthood | College Application Essay

Thoughts on Adulthood


Homesickness slides down my throat and settles in my stomach, a heavy weight that keeps me rooted to the unfamiliar bed. The sounds of a stranger’s breaths waft across the room and fill my ears, too loud in the dark night. I want to leave. I want to go home to my own house and my own bed and my own sister across the room. I don’t want to be in this dormitory with the lumpy mattress and the musty smell and the roommate.


My fingers ache from writing, but I don’t dare lift my pen from the page. I continue to scrawl my thoughts and musings and words, praying that something decent will come from them.


Fear greets me at the door to the dining hall, smirking at me as I hover uncertainly, clutching a tray lined with food I am too nervous to eat. The camera zooms out and pans across the room full of laughing groups I wish I were a part of. Like a bad teen movie, I cannot figure out where I belong.


My classmates are far more talented than I will ever be, and I can’t help but resent them. They create beauty out of thin air in mere minutes, while I struggle to organize my thoughts into sentences.


Exhaustion seeps into my bones and presses on my eyelids, but I do not succumb. I’ve realized that there are too many stories to tell and games to play and poems to write. I have learned to fight through the fatigue and keep moving. I walk and I laugh and I write and I read and I discuss and I learn and I eat and I sleep and I do it all over again day after day.


My mother calls, and I dash for the stairwell, settling into the quiet place to talk to her. I barely register the concern in her voice, my mind too busy running over tomorrow’s schedule to hear about how empty the house feels without me. I’m caught up in my new life away from home, and I no longer miss my family or my bedroom or my hometown.


Hope fills my lungs and explodes out of my body with every breathe I release. I start to believe that I do belong here. I thought I was alone that first night, but when I look at the crowd of laughing people gathered around the table, I realize that I’m surrounded by friends.


I have conquered the laundry room and the dining hall and life with a roommate. These things seemed terrifying and insurmountable to me on that first day, but now they come naturally. In fourteen days, I have embraced freedom, welcomed independence, and even made a few deals with responsibility.


Misery wraps around me, choking me, as my friends drag their suitcases bursting with notebooks and memories down the hall. Soon enough, I’ll have to get in a car that will take me eight hours away to the place I have always considered home. I will return to my regularly scheduled life of high school and siblings and childhood, but I will miss my time spent on Kenyon’s campus.


My suitcase sits in the middle of my bedroom, and I reluctantly pull the zipper and unload the contents. With each notebook I remove, each crumpled t-shirt I yank out, my freedom and independence slip away a little more. I could tighten my grip and hold them to me with all my strength, but instead I choose to let them go. They put in a lot of time these past two weeks, and they deserve a break. I’ll give them some time to relax and recharge, but I know they’ll be back soon enough.

This is the essay I submitted to all of the colleges I applied to through the Common Application. The prompt was to describe my transition from childhood to adulthood. I was accepted into nine out of twelve schools, though I'm not sure if it was because of this essay or in spite of it. Either way, I have made my decision and chosen a school with a fantastic Creative Writing program, so I'll be headed off to college in the fall!

Sunday, March 29, 2015



When my Physics teacher explained the world “entropy” to me,
The details about energy and thermodynamics bounced off the soft matter of my mind;
Only the concept of chaos slipped through my pores and made a home inside me.

“The universe favors chaos,” my teacher said.
A simple fact, a scientific law.
Or so he thought.
He did not know that he was unraveling the thin thread that held my world together.

If the universe prefers chaos over calm,
Disorder over organization,
Anarchy over harmony,
Then all our hope and optimism,
All our bravery and generosity,
Is implausible, illogical, impossible.

This universe—our universe,
The only one we've got—
Has no aspirations of bigger or greater things.
This universe wants to pick us up like we are pawns in a cruel, twisted game.
It wants to watch us burn or drown or battle one another for eternity.

This universe does not favor progress or unity,
And so it has set us all—
Each and every one of us tiny, insignificant beings—
On a path that ends in failure.

The universe plots wars and plans diseases,
All so it can look down upon us
And flash a demented grin at the chaos it has created.


But, even though all the evidence tells us that the universe favors chaos,
We—we small, meaningless humans—fight nature.
We aspire and inspire,
We dream and desire,
We hope, and we love,
And we clean the mess the universe leaves us.

We may let chaos step on our toes,
Or push us back a few steps,
Or barricade us in boxes.
We may, on occasion, let it gain the upper hand
Or sabotage our plans for progress.
But we do not let it control us,
Or consume us, or defeat us.

The universe may favor chaos,
But we will never let it destroy us.

I realize that the last poem I posted here was also about chaos, but I think I took each poem in a very different direction, so it's cool, right? :)
Also, this is another piece inspired by physics class! I'm not sure why I keep writing about physics, but perhaps I should start paying more attention in class instead of writing.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rachel Pietrewicz | A Spoken Poem

I decided to start sharing my writing in videos on my YouTube channel, so this is my first adventure into the world of spoken poetry!

The written version of this poem can be found here on this blog.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rachel Pietrewicz

Rachel Pietrewicz

On the first day of my last year of high school,
my Physics teacher takes attendance.
Eighth block,
eighth time listening to a teacher stumble
and stutter when their eyes land on my name
and their mouth tries to shape the letters into words.
I sigh quietly and brace myself for that one moment
that comes at the beginning of every class.
When my Physics teacher's voice breaks the smooth stride
of the Smiths and the Johnsons and the Wilsons,
I am ready.
It's “pee-etch-true-wits,” I tell him
before he even gets the first syllable out.
My classmates laugh, as they always do,
Mr. Rogers looks relieved, as teachers always do,
I slide further down in my seat, as I always do.

It's difficult to embrace
and accept
a name that no one can pronounce
or spell
or shorten into a convenient nickname.
I have spent too many hours of my life
repeating the spelling of my name
to teachers and doctors and reporters and bankers.
P as in Paul, I, E.
T as in Tom, R, E.
W, I, C, Z. Charlie, Zebra, yes we have finally reached the end.

“I'll just call you Rachel,”
everyone always says, shifting uncomfortably.
Because the ten letters that make up my surname
are arranged in a combination
that baffles intelligent people
and complicates simple situations.

Yes, this is a poem called Rachel Pietrewicz written by Rachel Pietrewicz. :) I wrote this at the workshop, where everyone was assigned to write a poem with their name as the title. To be honest, I don't usually mind when people mess up my name, but I channeled those occasional moments of annoyance and ended up with this.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I Have Never Been in Love

I Have Never Been in Love

I have never been in love,
But I have watched the sun set over empty fields.
I have seen fireflies illuminate summer nights.
I have watched fresh snow glisten after storms.

I have laughed until my stomach ached and my lungs grasped for air.
I have felt the crowd swell as the lights went down and the curtain pulled back.
I have found comfort in the yellowed pages of old books.
I have felt the satisfaction of creation.

I have never been in love,
But I think that what I have felt
And seen and done
Is close enough.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015



There once was a boy and girl who lived next door to each other. They spent all their time together pretending and laughing and dancing. All summer long, they would run through their tiny town, leaving a trail of mischief and recklessness behind them. The boy and the girl were inseparable, unstoppable, the dream team, partners in crime, practically siblings, explorers, romantics, dreamers, darers, doers. They were pure hope, never scared or disillusioned but constantly smiling and helping and appreciating. The boy and the girl were king and queen of the town, rulers of the country, leaders of the world, game makers of the universe. They were misfits with ripped jeans and bare feet, ready to dominate and inspire and educate and love and be loved. As long as they had each other, nothing and no one could hurt them or stop them or ruin them.

But then the boy and the girl grew up, as boys and girls always do, and their days of mischief and recklessness became a thing of the past, something easily forgotten and rarely remembered. Growing up brought new people and goals and responsibilities, and there wasn't any time for pretending and laughing and dancing. The boy and the girl were hopeless, burned-out, the lost ones, grown-ups, practically retired, cowards, quitters, fakers, haters, seducers. They were pure regret, never brave or optimistic but constantly scheming and wanting and trying. The boy and the girl were strangers from the same town, separate citizens of the country, individual observers of the world, different pieces of the universe. They were conformists with broken dreams and wrinkles, ready to sabotage and get ahead and judge and hate and be hated. They didn't have each other, so anyone and anything hurt them and stopped them and ruined them.


Fun fact: this is the only piece of writing I've ever read aloud to an audience. It was terrifying (and mandatory :P) but I think it turned out okay. 

Also, I'm not sure what to classify this piece as. I've been calling it prose poetry, but maybe that's inaccurate. Is it flash fiction? I have no idea!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

In January

In January

In January,
the world is new.

Confetti and champagne and kisses
mark the natural passing of time,
a rather pointless tradition
if one thinks about it practically,
but January is not about practicality.

January is about symbols and resolutions.

January is hoping, dreaming, praying
to be better, stronger, happier.

January is optimistic.
It is vibrant, fresh, alive.

January is the time to stop and reflect
or rush right ahead into something that shimmers.

It is the time to be thankful that we are still breathing, living, laughing;
because despite everything,
despite November and December,
all those miserable, frigid days,
we have reached the other side.

We may be bruised and battered and broken;
our voices may shake and our hands may tremble,
but we trust that lists scribbled on napkins
and the promise of summer’s return
and the chance to remake ourselves
will save us,
and we are right.

In January,
everything is new,
and we are still breathing.


This is a brand-new piece that I haven't taken the time to tweak/edit/whatever, so I don't think it's a final version, but I'm pleased with what I have so far. I normally don't post anything that I haven't agonized over for awhile, so this is a bit difficult for me, but I hope to do more of this casual write-something-then-post-it-right-away thing in the future. :)