When Allegra was seven, she — for the first but not the last time — created a survey. She had questions, and she wanted to know how a bunch of people would respond. And they did. After a few weeks, she had collected survey responses from folks around the globe, and her entire second grade class had been roped into participating. Then, surveys in hand, she spent hours reading them, talking about what people had written for their answers, ultimately alphabetizing them and storing them in a three-ring binder.

A few months later, she had more questions. Another survey. And after that? Another. Each time, the responses from friends, family, and strangers have been treasured (and three-hole punched).

Now, ten years after her first survey, our girl has come up with another, this time one she created while sitting in a car in a Swedish grocery store parking lot, waiting for someone who was taking FOR.EVER. Her aim, now that she’s seventeen, is to ask “better” questions than in previous surveys; to practice posing queries that yield more complex responses.

AND THAT’S WHY I COME TO YOU HERE TODAY, BROTHERS AND SISTERS. She is looking for as many responses as possible to these latest questions. Should you choose to put some time into filling out the attached survey, not only will you benefit from some moments of reflection, your words will be absorbed, read aloud, mulled upon, appreciated for years, and FILED INTO A THREE-RING BINDER.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this important project. All ages and interested parties are welcome. Responses may be sent directly to the author at: allegrapihlaja@gmail.com. And thank you for supporting the development of a budding social scientist!

  1. If you could remove one thing from your life, what would it be? Why?
  2. What has been the best trip of your life? Why?
  3. What has been the hardest decision of your life? Do you think it was the right one?
  4. What have you worked hardest for in your life? Was it worth it?
  5. What is the best museum you have ever been to? What made it so good?
  6. What would your idea of a perfect day entail?
  7. What’s something you wish you would’ve learned when you were younger?
  8. What is your favorite word?
  9. What is your favorite place that you’ve ever gone swimming?
  10. If you have been to college, where did you go and did you have a good experience? What was the best part? Any advice?

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Published by Jocelyn

There's this game put out by the American Girl company called "300 Wishes"--I really like playing it because then I get to marvel, "Wow, it's like I'm a real live American girl who has 300 wishes, and that doesn't suck, especially compared to being a dead one with none."

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