Last fall, the team at Lamps.com wanted to help a bright-minded individual set the tone for their first college experience. An idea sparked, and we offered a $1000 scholarship to high school seniors asking them “How does lighting affect your learning environment or living space?”.
After many intriguing entries, we decided that the “Flickering Moments” expressed to us by Anastasia Agapova struck a core with us on how lighting can really transform a moment in time and turn a ‘flickering moment’ into a most beloved memory. Here she expresses her excitement over receiving the scholarship: “It’s such a relief in this day and age to receive some financial help when heading off to college. I’m looking forward to using the scholarship money towards textbooks, tuition payment, and hopefully some decorations to make my dorm room more homely. Thanks, Lamps.com :)” Her essay is below:
Someone turned on the lights. I can already see the brightness illuminating the room through my closed eyes. I open them, and see my relatives’ and friends’ smiling faces.
A grin rises up on my face as I rush forward to embrace them. I look around the gleaming room, and barely recognize what was my basement just hours before. The ceiling harbors dozens of colorful balloons, the walls are decorated with ribbon, and my shoes keep gathering the confetti scattered on the floor. A stereo system stands in the corner. Magenta, aquamarine, and neon green shine from the lamps standing by the couch: one of the decorators must have unscrewed and replaced the ordinary light bulbs. It’s amazing how some decorations, lights, and friends can turn a dark basement into a celebration. I hope my guests can see the joy in my eyes.
I make my way around the room and greet all the guests. Soon, after some talking, the lights flicker off. For a moment, all I can see are the buttons glowing on the stereo, and the laptop light reflecting off the discs. Then, a sudden jolt of bass sends the room into a musical trance, and everyone’s dancing, jumping and cheering. The strobe light starts rhythmically flashing, almost as if to match the beat of the song. Just for an instant, these flashes reveal the decorations once more before flickering off with the same speed. My sparky dress reflects the lights like a disco ball.
So much energy, and so many beaming expressions. The lights keep glowing and flickering: this is the greatest birthday ever.
About an hour after midnight, it’s time for the highlight of the party: birthday cake! The worn out crowd rushes upstairs, and squeezes into the small kitchen. Its dim lighting always gave the room a homely feeling, and now my friends and loved ones are part of it. I’m pulled towards the center, before the island counter. A giant chocolate cake with strawberries rests on top. Before anyone’s eyes can fully adjust to the kitchen’s lights, they flicker off again. The only illumination twinkles from eighteen birthday candles. I admire the way the wax was melted into a spiral as my friends and family sing “Happy Birthday.” Each candle for a year of my life. As I blow them out, I’m thinking about the coming year which has already started in excitement, and I can’t stop smiling.
I walk around the house turning off the lights after the last guests have left. The basement, the kitchen, the dining and living rooms. I know that there’s a trail of confetti and silly string left behind me as I walk through each room, but that’s okay. It’ll be a nice reminder to wake up to in the morning. My last stop is upstairs in my room. My hand touches the light switch, and I fall onto my bed in total darkness. A few moments before falling asleep, I think of how my house was transformed today. My friend’s voices, the delicious cake, the rows of ribbon… and the lights.
The lights, on and off again and again, were like bright moments of that evening. The excitement flashing from bright to dim. I wonder if my eighteenth year would follow the same pattern, but soon enough fatigue catches up to me, and I’m falling asleep. My thoughts follow me into my dreams.”
Congrats, Anastasia! We send the brightest wishes to you as you attend The University of Maryland.