personal essay-working hard





4 December 2014 Working hard

I have read a line which is “All magic comes with a price.” It has repeated many times in my mind. I was wondering if this sentence is also true in our real world. Although there is no real magic in our world, I think that “All success comes with a price.” In my dictionary, magic is the thing that I am so good at that is beyond other peoples’ belief. How can I make that? The answer is working hard. Almost every student wants to get a good grade. So do I. I want to get 100% mark on my exams without doing any homework, but the reality is not a “nice man”. Usually doing homework is not enough still. I have to research, ask questions and then maybe I can get a high 80% mark but not 100% mark. In math class, someone solved a math problem while my other classmates and I were still stretching our heads. How he or she could solve this problem so easily as though they used the magic. However, what we do not know is the price they paid. They may used to math every day. Practice makes perfect. If I want be one of them, what I need to do is working hard with math or any other courses.

However, somebody may mentions that interesting is more important than striving. Because, when we interested in something, we will prefer to do it. Yes, it is. Like studying which every student must to do. If you like studying simultaneously, I think you could be a 70~80% mark student without really working hard. But, you could not be a 90~100% mark student. Because, you ignored that when you do the same thing over and over, it gets really boring. As the NBA players, we can definitely sure that each one of them loves basketball. But few of them can be super stars, who not only love this sport but also training hard. Let us image that competitions day by day for six months, accidental injuries and pressure from medias, all of those are spending you interesting. Only the ones who can tolerant that and work hard will succeed in this allocation.



The only reason that I am bad at something is because I did not work hard on it such as my English. Over the years of my middle school, the mark of my English course was the worst among all the courses. I stopped working hard on English after I graduated from my primary school. One of the excuses that I had been using to comfort myself was that I would not go abroad. But now I know that the only reason I did not want to learn English is because I am too lazy. However learning English is a painful process, I realized how poor my English was since my arrival of university. Especially, when I entered Fudan university. I did not know how to use tense. I was confused by the personal and formal essay. I feel like I am an idiot while I am in English class, because I do not understand many words that the teacher said. Now, I would like working hard with my English. English is the magic key that can open my door of success.

People love watching magic show, because they think the magicians can create miracles. In fact there is no such thing as miracles; it is just the result of the hard work from magicians. Everyone can create miracles and what you need is to work hard because “All magic comes with a price.”


第二篇:留学ESSAY Personal Growth 72600字

Category: Personal Growth


Essay: 94 For Educational Purposes Only

Do Not Plagiar

Increasingly, I find that I'd much rather talk about queerness than write about it. I've yet feel comfortable enough with my words to trust how they frame, limit, and structure my experience. I don't yet notice the experiences for which I have words and those for which I don't. I also wonder how adeptly I can to tease out my sexuality anyway, how well I can place it at center, since my particular queerness has had everything to do with my Asianness and

uppermiddleclassness and youth. Again, I've yet to learn how to discuss these weaves in tandem yet, but I will.

Living behind the Orange Curtain, I feel that my sexuality has grounded me outside society. I remember encountering lust during early childhood. I think his name was John, and he was in sixth grade. It seems like my desires have always been there; I simply did not acknowledge them, at first, as particularly interesting or, more tellingly, substantial enough to construct a name, a category, or identity around. My identity remained based in far more conventional structures: although I knew I liked boys, I still expected to become a successful heterosexual doctor, find a dutiful Asian bride, and have an obscene number of children. Sexual orientation, unlike money, racial authenticity, and status, had yet to become a foundation upon which my life rested. Masculinity and sexuality had yet to emerge as an issue.

Gradually, I began to realize that my peers were treating me differently. I wish there was a fresh way to describe alienation, how painful it is to feel like an absolute freak, how name-calling and insults cannot be dismissed as "teasing, " how children relish in making people suffer, but such coming-of-age melodramas become trite, even laughable. I remember them mocking me for innocent hand gestures; I remember beginning to watch myself neurotically for any action that they might construe as effeminate; I remember violence; I remember feeling stiff and stale, like granite, icy, numb, each encounter, each slur and slap laying the blocks, smoothing the mortar of my new, emerging self. From behind the rising walls, I watched them becoming couples and realized that I could never have that easy way, that I could never commune with others without sadness.

My parents only complicated the matter. As traditional Asians, they demanded that I, the eldest son, serve as the tantamount heterosexual, a role model for my brothers, the carrier of the potent seed that would foster the next Chiu generation. Soon I learned that the identity they had built for me not only stood on wealth and cultural and familial loyalties, but around virility and manliness as well. I had been obedient for my entire life, willing to fulfill every expectation. Now I faced disownment. I was terrified; I had lost my sense of direction, false or otherwise. As I grew aware of my Otherness, I began to see my life as a series of illusions. My prospects dissolved, and from these mirages emerged barriers, bastions I had never recognized.

Because what I had always considered natural was now wrong, I was framed as the

unacceptable, the deviant. Silently, insidiously, the world had reified a Self for me, cemented my most intimate and meaningful desires into an identity of Pervert. It had warped me into a suffocating, totalizing essence, pinned me with the girders of weakness, monstros-ity, and leprosy that supported their dichotomous construction of Homosexual. I couldn't let myself stay a freak, so I decided I didn't know who I really was and attempted to redefine myself. First I went ascetic, soaking myself in Buddhism to extinguish my desires, to tear down the source of my aberrant nature. My peers, however, would not let me go so easily. Seeing as they had already decided that my sex-uality was my self, I then decided to seek solace with fellow perverts. So, I came out.

Coming out, I was told, would solve all of my problems. Sure, there would still be the leering, the homophobic slurs, and all that, but I would at least be "proud" of my sexual preference; I would "stand up and be counted." In reality, my momentous coming out was anti-climactic and disappointing. I expected that by telling people that I was gay I would metamorphose into a braver, stronger being. I didn't. To a certain extent, I never rested deeply in the closet anyway; because of my "flamboyance, " my private and public lives never seemed genuinely partitioned or obscured from one another. For me, at least, the closet emerged as another strange edifice, another harsh, warped, and dichotomous lens through which to understand myself.

Consequently I returned to my original foundations, plunging into schoolwork to redeem myself through academic excellence. Still miserable, I turned to extracurricular activities and

community service, trying to erect an identity in a facade of social responsibility and activism. I found myself searching for the approval of others. Their praise of my right image, my

unperverted, correctly structured image-my stellar transcript, my hours of community service, my ability to blow into a flute and scratch out a few greeting card poems-reassured me of my worth. Despite the rigidity of my A-student identity, I still felt stale and numb, dizzy and

nauseous, my body floating in black and crimson. My life was nothing but a series of unstable illusions, shadows that consumed and rejected me, a society that told me that, beneath any self I pieced together, my sexuality made me essentially perverse and nothing more. I reject these ideas. As Foucault writes, queerness represents a constructed, implanted

perversity. People see my sexuality as the defining aspect of my persona. They see it as the sum product of my past and the determining factor of my future. Everywhere people limit me in ways far more insidious than stereotyping or anti-gay legislation. Discrimination against gays and lesbians is not simply a homophobic don't ask don't tell policy: in the contemporary

consciousness, homophobia builds queerness into a monolith. With queer individuals reduced to nothing but absolutely, impregnably Queer, dehumanization becomes almost inevitable. There are the obvious examples: the gay bashers, the skinhead neo-Nazis, Jesse Helms, those who decry us as Satanic. Yet with the "gay-friendly" we become perverse too,

metamorphosing from devils to ABBA-loving fashion freaks. Even queers sometimes yell too thoughtlessly for gay pride, as if having a sexual preference is something of which to be proud. Sexuality is not an accomplishment; it is not something that reveals who you are; it is not all that you are: it exists as a strand, one interwoven into all the other facets of Self.

What I want is gay dignity and freedom. I want to integrate my sexuality with all the other weaves of my self: burn any architectural plans that mount my gayness above my race, ethnicity, and age. In fact, I'd like to trash any designs on fixing my identity at all. I want for people not to trap me, totalize me in predetermined roles and lifestyles, to tell me that I have to resolve my deviance when they have constructed it for me. With horror, I know that I've lived my sexuality with relative ease, that I've passed through high school relatively unbruised, that I've always been able to wrap my Harvard successes around me like a shawl and beat my enemies back with my résumé. Still I am tired of fearing that I might lose my parents' support and never being able to return home after college. I am tired of wondering if a potential

employer finds me too effeminate or if I need to carry mace on-campus. I am tired of having my sexuality dominate me, suffocate me, be my persona.

Of course, I certainly can't take it for granted either. For many years, I've distanced myself from certain queers, naming drag queens, transsexuals, and flaming gay activists as freaks or Other to bolster my sense of normalcy. Only recently did I become a crusading warrior

princess myself. Gradually, I am coming to embrace the identity of Homosexual, the identity built so rigidly around my desire and so oppressive to my sense of self, and encourage others to do the same. Screw normalcy. Only through reappropriating this artificial category of

Queerness we can name ourselves as a community. Only through political mobilization can we reclaim what it means to live Gay, bring our multiplicity as individuals to light, and achieve equity in our lives. Coming out means avowal, a desperately needed acknowledgment of yourself and your peers and a commitment to fight for them: not necessarily a collision of the theoretically public and private. Queers need to proclaim their supposedly perverse subculture, a subculture borne in the oppression, resistance, and struggle within and between the queer and straight communities. We must seek equity through visibility. Moreover, while our identities may remain socially constructed, their fabrication does not make them any less meaningful or real. Perhaps because I can afford to, I have learned to take pleasure in deviance, in flaunting my self; in reveling in sexual experiences; in passing as a girl or heterosexual boy. Certainly my experiences prove as legitimate as the construction of Straightness. We need to establish queerness as just as normal and "unnatural" as

Heterosexual convention. We must understand that barbie doll cheerleader is just as contrived as the diesel dyke, that the muscle-bound jock is as much of a construct as the leather queen. Only after achieving a visible place in society and showing Straights how society has

fabricated their identities as well will queers move from the deviant to the normal, from the periphery to the center.

So in looking toward my activism at Harvard, I perceive two emerging strands. First, I will continue to work on the numerous issues that I've pursued during high school because in doing so I do justice to all aspects of my self and serve all of my communities. Beyond my attempt to unify and integrate the weaves of my life, I would, however, like to become more present in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community, particularly since my home life and county of residence have largely curtailed my efforts. Despite the importance of the cause, I would definitely like to move beyond A.I.D.S. activism and attack broader social justice issues on sexuality that receive less attention. My human rights work promises to redouble in the area of sexuality as the international human rights community grows

increasingly aware of the torture and oppression of sexual minorities worldwide. Moreover, I would also like to study and pursue the creation of alliances within queer communities, in

terms of varying racial-ethnic and gender groups, and with heterosexual communities as well. Specifically, however, I feel drawn to the study and teaching of identity politics, particularly in how the social discourse constructs Homo and Hetero-sexuals. I feel a need to collapse the shaky dichotomy between Straights and Freaks, to demolish the structures we've erected to define ourselves. Understanding my queerness has become a process, a process of deciding that my difference will no longer isolate, relegate, or alienate me. Instead, it will build me a space from which I can expose the perversity in calling someone perverse.

Comments by Admissions Officers who Assisted with the Course Development

One admissions officer called it a "work of art, " and another described it as "the stuff of

graduate research." One admissions officer offered a warning to applicants, though. "This is not the conversational style that I recommend that most applicants use, because too often students at this stage sound pretentious and awkward if they try to go beyond a simple style." Another felt it very important to stress that a topic does not need to be this grandiose, personal, or revealing to be effective. "True, these topics often tug at the heartstrings and therefore get more notice . . . but it's worth mentioning that you don't need to be a gay Asian activist to get noticed." The combination of such a deeply personal topic, the depth of insight, and the ability to articulate such a breadth of thought is impressive. Cornell

Essay: 92 For Educational Purposes Only

Do Not Plagiar

Some say that mankind is complex beyond comprehension. I cannot, of course, speak for every other individual on this earth, but I do not believe that I am a very difficult person to understand. My life is based upon two very simple, sweeping philosophies: pragmatism in actions and idealism in thought. Thus, with these two attitudes, I characterize myself.

Pragmatism in actions. I believe utterly in one of those old cliches: we are given only a limited time upon this earth and every moment wasted is lost forever. Therefore, I do not engage in those things that I view as useless. The next question is obvious. What do I view as useless? In reality, perhaps too many things and definitely too many to address in one essay. However, I can indulge in the discussion of a few. Hate is a wasted emotion. Hate accomplishes nothing. It does not relieve hunger. It does not alleviate pain. It creates only avoidable aggression. I do not believe in any kind of hate, including prejudice and racism. My energies and time can be better spent elsewhere. Anger too. What does anger do? Nothing. It frustrates us and

aggravates us, and we can avoid it. Being frustrated is not a pleasing experience for me. When I was young, or rather, when I was younger than I am now, I would explode at the smallest disturbances (I'm sorry mom and dad). Now, I have realized that anger is a waste of time, and I no longer have a temper to lose. I would much rather wallow in happiness. And in my

happiness, I do not worry much over my image in the eyes of others. The important word here is much, for there are opinions of certain individuals about which I do care a great deal, but these are few. They include my family, my close friends, and those who possess the power to

affect my life significantly (for example, university admissions officers). Otherwise, I pay no attention to whispers behind my back or vague rumors circulating in the air above. As long as I know the truth, however harsh it may be, and those that I care about know the truth, I am not troubled. The masses may think as they wish. They are entitled. As can probably be observed from this essay thus far, my outlook on life saves me more than a bit of stress. I hate no one, I am never angry, and I really don't care what most other people believe. It is quite a calming experience. Have no fear though, stress pierces my existence from many other venues.

And now for the other half of my personality. I am a hardcore idealist (and very naive). I believe that I can change the world, and I intend to. Either one man at a time, or a generation at a time, I will leave my stamp emblazoned upon humanity. I maintain that there lies in man the ability to accomplish anything and everything. Nothing is impossible. But before changing the world, we must learn to change ourselves. And here enters another one of my theories. There are two stages in resolving a problem, and they are both equally important. First, the problem must be identified and recognized. Then, the solution may be found. I know that my profound theory sounds ridiculous and obvious, but many people never even pass the first level. They know something is wrong and they complain, but they do not take the time to divine the source of their troubles. If only they would open their eyes a bit and look around, they might find that the key to their dilemma was actually quite simple. Then again, the answer might be more difficult than the problem itself. Admitting the existence of a problem becomes even more difficult when the issue concerns the self. I am continually striving to improve myself, constantly seeking perfection. I sometimes ask others to critique my personality and my actions and reveal what they regard as my flaws. Then, I can better evaluate myself with their more

objective views. After that, the process is not complicated. I identify those areas that I am not completely satisfied with and determine some means to rectify the condition. So far, I have not had many difficulties with this fix-it-yourself, or rather, this fix-yourself-yourself system. This self-improvement has given me self-confidence as well as an optimistic attitude on living. By demonstrating to myself that I alone can change the many aspects of my persona, I have led myself to believe that all aspects of life can be altered as well. All that is required is a bit of will (and some intelligence helps too). I believe the will of man is the greatest driving force in our lives.

So there it is. My entire mentality has been reduced to a two page essay. Here and there it's a bit foolish, but it is what I live by (until, of course, I find better philosophies). Others may accept it or reject it, but I don't mind much either way as long as it works for me.

** Comments by Admissions Officers who Assisted in the Creation of this Course **

This strikes me as aloof. It doesn't really make me like the kid-and that's what a good essay should do!

I found this essay to be trite and pretentious. It really tells me nothing of substance about the author. I have no idea what he will bring to the incoming class, what sorts of interests or

activities he has been involved with, what concrete goals he may have. The essay also has a self-righteous feel to it that is annoying.

This essay has a cumbersome beginning. This writer should just drop the first two sentences and begin, "my life is based on. . ." then drop the next sentence, "Thus, with these two

attitudes, I characterize myself." No one writes or talks that way; not if they wish for anyone to listen.

The author blusters that he will "change the world." Then give me one concrete example of a change you've already made. Be genuine enough to give the reader a good-faith deposit on your lofty proclamations. As the saying goes, "If you're gonna talk the talk, you better walk the walk." Harvard

Essay: 89

A Visit to Rural Kenya For Educational Purposes Only Do Not Plagiar

At the end of July of '95,I boarded a plane that would take me from my home in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Nairobi, Kenya. My parents had always wanted to take our family abroad, but when my mother signed a contract to work for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Kenya, plans materialized, and we were soon on our way to an exotic year in Africa.

Besides the farewells I had to make to my friends at home, I had few reservations about living abroad. What made it easy for me to come to Africa was my eagerness to immerse myself in a new culture. I knew that I might never get such an experience again, so I was determined to learn all I could about the language, the history, and the people, of that far-off place.

During the first few months of our stay, my family took various trips around the country. We watched zebra and wildebeest migrate across the Serengeti, saw hippos floating like rocks in Lake Victoria, marveled at flamingos balancing knee-deep in a salt-lake. We climbed an extinct volcano in the Rift Valley. We snorkeled in the Indian Ocean and fed fish from our fingers. We hiked 17,000 feet above sea level to the peak of Mt. Kenya. And we studied Swahili, the local language, every evening after dinner. But in late October my aunt came to visit for a month. She romanced us with stories of her experiences in rural Africa working in the Peace Corps. The sharp contrast between the simple lifestyle she described and the one I was leading shocked me as to how un-African my life was. I went to an American school every day with mostly Europeans and Asians, which, despite being a unique experience itself, isolated me from the larger Kenyan community. I was also living in a city, where shopping malls, Italian restaurants, late-night discos, and movie theaters were all available close at hand. Was this really what I had come to see? My daily activities were almost the same as the ones in the United States. I typed English essays late at night on a computer; I showered with hot water every day after soccer practice; I dined on fried chicken or fish fillets or hamburgers. I was in the midst of a swarm of expatriates who had formed a community so tight that I could live with all the luxuries of a technologically-modern lifestyle. I saw my problem: I had wound myself so tightly in the routine of my school life that I was no longer seeing Kenya or even Kenyans. I yearned to know some of the African culture, but I didn't know how that could be achieved without a drastic break in my academic progress, which I wasn't willing to sacrifice.

After talking over this issue with my parents, I stumbled upon the perfect solution. [name] is the son of [name] and [name], with whom my mother lived twenty years ago when she came to Kenya as a volunteer nurse. [name] was living with us while he attended [name] College, but he was going back to his home village to visit his family over the Christmas holidays. I could go with him and stay with his family there.

This excursion proved to be the most rewarding ten days of my entire stay in Africa. In that short period, I learned more about Kenyan culture than I had in the five months prior to that time. First of all, I witnessed how different the female role is in Kenya than in America. The women-young and old-did about twice the work the men did. They had to cook the meals, get the milk, sweep the house, chop the firewood, take care of the children; the list goes on and on. The men did some work on the farm, but mostly they enjoyed a laid-back lifestyle. And it is not uncommon for a man to have more than one wife. [Name] has had a total of three women as wives. What seems unheard-of to a Westerner is commonplace to a Kenyan.

I also saw an intense restlessness for change. When the men sat around the dinner table (women weren't allowed to eat with them), they would not merely discuss the weather or the latest gossip of the village. No, they debated the problems and merits of Kenya and what could be done to improve their country. They voiced their apprehension of the government, their fear that if they openly opposed the estab-lished authority, their family could be persecuted by the president's special agents. They talked of the A.I.D.S. epidemic spreading through the working class like wildfire. They expressed their anger at the drug abuse of their nation's youth. But these men were unwilling to accept the obstacles they faced and instead looked toward

solutions-education, fairer elections, less corruption, and others. I also saw that a primitive life is not necessarily a painful one. Theirs is a simple life-one without running water, or electricity, or telephones, or cars. But being simple did not mean it was a pleasureless life. It meant fetching water every day from a well. It meant cooking over a fire and reading by a lantern. It meant walking to school instead of driving. But it also meant no expensive phone bills, no

wallet-straining car repairs, no broken washing machines. A simple life had its hardships, but it also avoided the hassles that Americans face in their complex modern lives. In the village, we ate good food, children screamed and shouted with joy, we laughed while playing card games, we flipped through old photo albums. Their lifestyle was vastly different from mine, but they still had the same goals that I did: to have fun, to get a good education, to be comfortable. After the New Year, when I returned to my home in Nairobi, I went back carrying in my mind a vivid

picture of rural Kenya, but also satisfied that I had learned something that could not be found in Nairobi's American expatriate community.

** Comments by Admissions Officers who Assisted in the Creation of this Course **

This essayist benefited from having had an unusual travel experience and from knowing how to write about it using lots of colorful detail. Two officers mentioned that the writer could have improved the essay by making her conclusion more reflective. "What do these things mean?" asked one. "In the conclusion, the all-important self-reflection is absent. . . . Remember, if you want to write an essay about your immersion in a foreign culture, you must be able to articulate how you've grown from the experience; a mere recounting of events is not enough."

This is very well written. I especially like the vivid descriptions of the African scenes. It shows us a young woman who is extremely open to new experiences, who wants to immerse herself completely in whatever new situation comes her way. She would be a valuable addition to an entering class.

Solid all-around essay from beginning to end. This is one of those essays that you hope more students would write. This student knows what it takes to compose a quality essay. It is told in an expressive way that allows you to envision the experience yourself. Excellent form and writing. This student has a keen sense for details and how to tell a story. Stanford and Amherst

Essay: 84 For Educational Purposes Only

Do Not Plagiar

Often I lie awake in my bed at night, not moving, too exhausted even to read. The ceiling fan turns slowly overhead, the sheets are smooth and comfortable, and the house lies in the quiet stillness of night, yet I do not sleep. For hours, I am lost in contemplation, my mind incessantly weaving threads of thought together in strange patterns. I silently drift in the darkness through a landscape of intangible ideas, groping for meaning behind the shadow of existence. What is it to be? I have spent years with this question, privately turning it over, searching for its nature, for the form of its answer. I have truly been haunted by Being.

Thus philosophy for me was at first a personal matter, a dream that forced its way into my head during the night. The thoughts arose as from a vacuum, unprovoked, and persisted in their senseless hold over my mind. Yet slowly I learned that others had faced these same

questions, that they had spent their lives searching for the answers, and that, most importantly, they had left a written record of their search for meaning. Great minds throughout history had left a legacy which I could follow, turning my insoluble reflections into a legitimate, potentially lifelong exploration. As time permitted, I studied philosophy, reading whatever I could find, and my quest for the nature of Being took on a more tangible presence.

Last year I joined the Humanities Forum, a program in which philosophy professors from

Emory University and other Atlanta area colleges offer informal courses on a variety of themes. The classes permitted me to make a more systematic and rewarding study than my private readings allowed. Each class meets for two hours once a week, and is composed of

undergraduate students, graduate students, and professionals from virtually every field. I am the youngest participant. I began the program with a twelve-week course called "Our

Civilization, " with primary readings from Alexis de Tocqueville, Adam Smith, and Friedrich Nietzsche, in which we evaluated what modern culture has lost in comparison to ancient Greek and medieval value systems and social structures. Later, in "Plato vs. Descartes: Ancient and Modern Philosophy, " we explored the distinctive natures of the two philosophical eras by examining the thought of an influential thinker from each period. I am currently enrolled in "Heidegger, Metaphysics, and Nihilism." We are examining Heidegger's thesis that nihilism is the culmination of Western metaphysics by reading and discussing a variety of his works.

Heidegger is the most profound thinker I have encountered; I often find myself forced to reread

passages to grasp the meaning hidden within. In Heidegger, I have found the closest approach to the truth of Being, the truth I still contemplate alone at night.

Occasionally I come upon a familiar concept in my philosophical reading, one which I

recognize as my own. To see my private musings, which seemed only ephemeral and abstract, expressed in the writings of a great thinker excites me to pure exhilaration. That this elusive creature Being has haunted others gives me hope; I now look forward to the setting of the sun and the sleepless night ahead.

** Comments by Admissions Officers who Assisted in the Creation of this Course **

Most of our panel admired this essay for its passion and depth of thought. Here are some comments.

Wow. This is a virtuoso. This essay is intelligent, creative, thoughtful, descriptive, humble, and interesting.

The author is obviously a profound thinker, well beyond his years in his grasp of deep

philosophical ideas. He writes with intelligence and sophistication about concepts that many of his peers seldom even consider. College Applicant

Essay: 54 For Educational Purposes Only

Do Not Plagiarize. Click Here to Learn Why.

Is breaking the law appropriate under any circumstances? Explain.

On Tuesday, September 16,1997,kidnappers captured my father and held him for ransom. At 2:00 PM, I arrived home from school to find my mother anxious. My father had not arrived from the farm, and she knew my father would never have left us worrying about him unless he was in trouble.

While we were starting to fear the worst, my mother asked me to look for him on the farm.

When I arrived at the farm, I asked a worker if he had seen my dad. The worker answered that he had not seen my dad and that like me he was beginning to worry. In Colombia, when people are missing, you don’ t assume they were in a car accident or that they had a heart attack in a field somewhere, you assume they were kidnapped. Fearing my father might be killed, nobody in my home slept that night. All we could do was hope and pray that by some miracle, my dad would come walking through the door and everyone would breath a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, for the next four days, we heard nothing from my father. With each passing hour, the situation looked increasingly worse.

On Sunday my mom and my smaller sister went to church while I stayed home with my older sister. My sister and I were in the living room, discussing the last words that we had heard from our dad, when the phone suddenly rang. My sister and I exchanged nervous glances. When my sister answered, she didn’ t say a word; she just listened attentively, hung up, and stared at me blankly. “ It was about dad, ” she said. A guerilla group called FARC had abducted him,

and to get him back, we would have to pay a substantial amount of money. Moreover, if we informed the authorities, they would kill my father.

Now Colombian law is explicit on this subject: “ Any case of forceful desaparition or kidnapping must be denounced immediately to the authorities . . . [and] under no circumstance should money be paid to obtain the freedom of an individual from criminal action . . ..” My family had a clear choice; we could obey the law and have our father murdered, or we could ignore it and hope to get our father back. We had no choice.

I quickly recognized my family?s and my right to civil disobedience. Sure, the law exists for a reason. By paying kidnappers, we would encourage further kidnapping of other fathers, but my father is a human being, and no one can say one man’ s life is worth less than the lives of ten men, even government’ s have no right to allow people to die. We had all the tools that could be used to free my father; we had the resources and the money, but the law prevented us using them. What would you do if you could save your father’ s life simply by paying some

money? In our case we followed our principles and defined our priorities. For my family and me, my dad?s life was a priority and life itself was the principle. We had no choice but to break to the law, and break the law we did. However, we never violated our own moral rules or

conceptions of justice; instead, we affirmed them by working to free the man we loved at any cost in material possessions. We did not place the law above the life of my father.

Each person who consciously chooses to disobey the law can only do so legitimately if his/her own moral convictions directly conflict with the law. It was clear that we could not live with

ourselves if we let our father die at the hands of kidnappers. It would not be just for us to allow our father to suffer out of fear and respect for the law; if we had been abducted, our father would have worked for our freedom; we could do no less for him. By acting under the consent of our conscience we in fact were obeying a law that supersedes state law. This higher law is based on our respect for life. Therefore, in essence, we did not break the law, we followed a higher law, ignoring laws of less authority. While in general, the laws of the state should be followed and do not conflict with important moral laws, when they do conflict, the laws of the state must be completely disregarded, as in the case of the slavery laws and the Jim Crow laws. The punishment of the state should not be feared, as punishment would be unjust in such a situation. We practiced an act of civil disobedience far greater than Thoreau’ s and on par with Antigone’ s and Robert McAfee Brown’ s.

Laws are meant to defend people and help preserve order in society. The Colombian law intended to do exactly this, but could not possibly be obeyed. Laws must not conflict with the morals of a majority of the people; laws should reflect their morals, for people’ s personal laws are much more important than state laws. So long as people are willing to die for causes and for their family, the government should not legislate laws that conflict with the morals of the people. To do so and enforce them, would be unjust on the part of the government.

Thankfully, we successfully negotiated the return of my father, who rejoined his family on April 29,1998,over seven months after his initial abduction. I remember thinking everything I went through was worth it, as I now see through the benefit of hindsight and suffering, that my

experience allowed me to confront issues that define my personality, issues no less important than my right to civil disobedience and the right to ignore unjust laws. Similarly, this experience gave me a new love of life and a greater appreciation of its fragility and beauty. Now, I am a woman strong in her convictions, a woman who confronted state law out of moral fortitude and familial love. Brown Applicant

Essay: 43 For Educational Purposes Only

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I’ ll never forget that night, and I’ ll never remember it. For that night and the following days, I felt like a wanderer on an endless stretch of a dark, deserted road where only vague outlines of old, busted-up cars appear as they whiz by at a dizzying pace. I remember only short insignificant pieces of the night; all colors, events, and time blended together like flaming bursts of magnificent Roman candles that set the night sky ablaze with brilliant purples, reds, and oranges.

Unfortunately, the horror I sensed was much more significant and much less innocent than cars wandering in the night or Roman candles entertaining droves of happy people.

I burst into the room, crashing, tumbling, and twisting onto the bed, longing to feel at ease. I took a deep breath and held it in as I thought about how lonely I felt on that cold night. Man, I wanted to jump right out that window to do something, anything. I felt alive and confined by life. Then, like a bolt of burning lightning, something struck me, sending me reeling like a torn and tattered ragdoll. In a daze, I picked myself off the floor only to fall back to the bed again, as I made another attempt at sleep. Suddenly, something took hold of my consciousness, making me feel like Miles Davis’ screeching trumpet and Ron Carter’ s rumbling bass, all at the same time. My eyes raced around the room trying to find an explanation for my situation, and I began to hear my own heart bang in my chest, loudly thumping, booming, booming, constantly booming. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen soon.

The room began to spin like a child's top around and around, dizzyingly spinning and falling and tumbling and crashing. I began to cry, not knowing what was happening. My body tightened and twisted, itself trying to escape the unknown enemy. Like an old can of

Coca-Cola, I shivered and shook and suddenly exploded in one moment of horrible ecstasy. Someone came in and tried to help me to my feet as I kept falling down, getting up, and falling down, like a boxer on the ropes, certain to lose but fighting valiantly for simple pride. That night, my parents after they found me brought me to the emergency room where the doctors predicted I would be all right soon enough. Thank God. Depression, panic disorder, whatever, that night was the best thing that ever happened to me. Yeah it sounds strange, but that night was like an air raid siren in the dead of night. I was alive, and I didn't even know it. Florida Applicant

Essay: 41 For Educational Purposes Only

Do Not Plagiar

The movie “ Born on the Fourth of July” tore me to pieces. Watching innocent men march through foreign jungles to face senseless injury, torture, and death forced me to question the

excuses for war. Even though I only observed this suffering on television, the reality of the movie hit home. I could not bear to see the crushed spirits and mutilated bodies of those once proud men lying in inadequate, understaffed hospital facilities. Watching them come home to an ungrateful American public angered me; I could not comprehend that so many Americans could be so cold and heartless. As soon as the movie ended, I realized I could no longer accept war as a means of achieving peace.

That evening, after watching the emotionally exhausting film, I decided to look outside the prejudices of the world in which I was raised. As my emotions fought ferociously to break

through my hard exterior shell to come to grips with the realities presented in the film, I realized for the first time in my life the importance of compassion and understanding and the silliness of grasping for causes just to be right. Whether the war was right or wrong, whether Kennedy, LBJ and Nixon knew what they were doing or not, the veterans who fought the war deserved the respect and recognition of every American citizen.

In addition to helping me come to terms with my emotions and altering my conceptions of war, the movie inspired me to change in other ways. It helped me see the depth and shallowness of my own convictions and how easily I allowed myself to be swayed by the spurious arguments of ignorant people. Moreover, the film encouraged me to take an interest in an art form that could so powerfully affect me, and the next summer I attended film school at Cambridge

University. I wrote, directed, and edited my own 16mm film about a woman. It was a portrait of a rape victim. I had always wanted to make a film of this nature, but many people discouraged me because they thought a male could never make a stirring film about a subject that seemed more relevant to females. However, I decided to ignore their advice and stop shying away from controversy. Rather than allowing other people to convince me my ideas were not worth trying, I decided to make my idea work. What better way to understand the trauma of rape, I thought, than to challenge myself creatively by presenting a film from the feminine viewpoint? I poured my heart and soul into the project until I decided I could no longer improve upon it.

After the viewing of the film, the look of approval on the faces of my instructors and classmates gave me all the validation I needed. For me, film was now a vehicle in which I could explore unknown realms of my mind and uncover new ideas about the world. My newfound boldness, made possible by film, gave me the confidence to take creative risks. I now eagerly participate in class discussions, choose the most difficult topics for research papers, and read books as if I planned to make a movie about them.

In short, the movie Born on the Fourth of July boosted my confidence to never lose the strength of my convictions. I realized that I must dedicate my life to examining every issue I come across and not allow black-and-white thinking to dominate my way of confronting difficult issues. Specifically, I desire to everyday face a new challenge and to never feel ordinary or bound by limits of creativity or convention. Harvard Princeton Stanford

Dartmouth For Educational Purposes Only Do Not Plagiar

Essay: 40

Hiking to Understanding

Surrounded by thousands of stars, complete silence, and spectacular mountains, I stood atop New Hampshire's Presidential Range awestruck by nature's beauty. Immediately, I realized that I must dedicate my life to understanding the causes of the universe's beauty. In addition, the hike taught me several valuable lessons that will allow me to increase my understanding through scientific research.

Although the first few miles of the hike up Mt. Madison did not offer fantastic views, the vistas became spectacular once I climbed above tree line. Immediately, I sensed that understanding the natural world parallels climbing a mountain. To reach my goal of total comprehension of natural phenomena, I realized that I must begin with knowledge that may be uninteresting by itself. However, this knowledge will form the foundation of an accurate view of the universe. Much like every step while hiking leads the hiker nearer the mountain peak, all knowledge leads the scientist nearer total understanding.

Above tree line, the barrenness and silence of the hike taught me that individuals must have their own direction. All hikers know that they must carry complete maps to reach their

destinations; they do not allow others to hold their maps for them. Similarly, surrounded only by mountaintops, sky, and silence, I recognized the need to remain individually focused on my life's goal of understanding the physical universe.

At the summit, the view of the surrounding mountain range is spectacular. The panorama offers a view of hills and smaller mountains. Some people during their lives climb many small hills. However, to have the most accurate view of the world, I must be dedicated to climbing the biggest mountains I can find. Too often people simply hike across a flat valley without

ascending because they content themselves with the scenery. The mountain showed me that I cannot content myself with the scenery.

When night fell upon the summit, I stared at the slowly appearing stars until they completely filled the night sky. Despite the windy conditions and below freezing temperatures, I could not tear myself away from the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos. Similarly, despite the

frustration and difficulties inherent in scientific study, I cannot retreat from my goal of universal understanding.

When observing Saturn's rising, the Milky Way Cloud, and the Perseid meteor shower, I simultaneously felt a great sense of insignificance and purpose. Obviously, earthly concerns are insignificant to the rest of the universe. However, I experienced the overriding need to understand the origins and causes of these phenomena. The hike also strengthened my resolve to climb the mountain of knowledge while still taking time to gaze at the wondrous scenery. Only then can the beauty of the universe and the study of science be purposefully united. Attaining this union is my lifelong goal.

Harvard Applicant

Essay: 39 For Educational Purposes Only

Do Not Plagiar

It is a truth universally acknowledged that weird things happen at hospitals. From the moment the automatic doors open, you are enveloped in a different world. A world of beeps, beepers, humming radiators, humming nurses, ID badges, IV bags, gift shops, shift stops, PNs, PAs, MDs, and RNs. Simply being in a hospital usually means you are experiencing a crisis of some sort. Naturally, this association makes people wary. However, I have had the unusual experience of being in a hospital without being sick.

In May, 1995 I began working once a week at Massachusetts General Hospital. I imagined myself passing the scalpel to a doctor performing open heart surgery, or better yet stumbling upon the cure for cancer. It turned out, however, that those under age eighteen are not allowed to work directly with patients or doctors. I joined a lone receptionist, Mrs. Penn, who had the imposing title of “ medical and informational technician.” My title was “ patient discharge

personnel.” Mrs. Penn had her own computer and possessed vast knowledge of the hospital. I had my own personal wheelchair. Manning the corner of the information desk, my wheelchair and I would be called on to fetch newly discharged patients from their rooms.

This discharge experience taught me lessonsboth comical and sadabout hospital life. On one of my first days, I was wheeling out a woman when I noticed an IV needle still pressed in the back of her hand. I returned her to the nurse’ s station where the needle was removed without comment or apology. Another time, an elderly man approached the information desk and threatened that if I didn’ t let him see his wife, he would take a grenade out of his pocket and detonate it. I didn’ t really believe he had a grenade, but who could be sure? When the man repeated his words to Mrs. Penn, she knew exactly what to do. An immediate call for security was sounded. Sad to say, that man was not the first or last unbalanced individual to frequent Mass General while I worked there.

Nor would this be the last time I relied on Mrs. Penn. Some months later, a thirty-something man came to the desk asking for his father’ s room. When I looked up his computer entry, the father’ s name came up with the code for the morgue deceased. Not knowing what to do, I told him my computer was down and directed him to Mrs. Penn’ s terminal. She broke the news and directed him to the attending physician.

Last spring, I handled the discharge of Oliver, a twelve-year old boy undergoing chemotherapy. When I asked how he would be going home, he replied, “ How do I get to the nearest subway station?” Apparently, Oliver’ s parents were busy and couldn’ t bring him home from the hospital. I gave Oliver 85 cents and walked him to the Charles/MGH subway stop. After

explaining what inbound and outbound meant, I watched a frightened little boy board the train. Teenagers in my town have one thing in common our parents lavish us with attention, even spoil many of us. But what I saw that day opened my eyes to a life wholly different from my own.

Then life changed. On a beautiful, hot, August day, my lung collapsed. I was at a basketball camp in Cambridge when I felt a searing pain through my upper back and chest. Anyone who has had a pitchfork driven through his shoulder knows exactly how I felt. The camp trainer said not to worry; at worst, I might have an enlarged spleen, a tell-tale sign of “ mono.” The trainer had no idea what he was talking about. Next stop, the hospital.

I spent one night at Mass General, sleeping with an oxygen mask to pump my lung back up. The doctors sent me home the next morning with a sore back and no sleep This collapsed lung was just a singular event, a one-hit wonder. Wrong. In October, my lung collapsed again. This time I spent two nights with the oxygen mask. This time when I left I was scheduled for surgery a week later. The day of the surgery I saw Mrs. Penn behind the desk, but she didn’ t wave. I realized that with my oxygen mask I was about as recognizable as the face behind Darth Vader’ s mask.

Though I knew I was in good hands, my main feeling as a patient was helplessness.

Nonetheless, I experienced one small triumph near the end of my stay. On the way to the CT scan, my wheelchair attendant had no clue where we were going. Not only did I know the way, I knew a shortcut. The attendant was impressed. For a moment, I was not a patient, but again part of the invisible fraternity of hospital workers.

The most consistent component of my life during that year was the hospital. When I see

someone with an oxygen mask wheeled by my desk, I don’ t assume an attitude of indifference. I know what it is to pushand be pushed inthe wheelchair. An extended stay at the hospital helped me realize and appreciate what a normal life is. Princeton Applicant

Essay: 38

1) For Educational Purposes Only Do Not Plagiarize. Click Here to Learn Why.

In my life, I have lived in two houses a mile apart from each other in the little town of Belmont. When I was four, I began Belmont Day School. Eight years later, I headed off to Belmont Hill School. And now, at the ripe old age of 18,I realize that I’ ve been inside this same enclave all my life, that I know nothing else. Any step now would be a giant one.

I’ ve had a glimpse of what might happen if I left my hometown. In France the past two summers, I’ ve experienced first-hand a new culture and have enjoyed my newfound intellectual liberty. But college, how will that change me?

What I look forward to most is the flexibility. Freedom will alter me, will alter the way I approach learning. I want to have enough time to do my course work while pursuing my loves. I imagine a place where I can put in forty hours at the newspaper without ruining my academic career. I imagine a place where I can speak French in the hallway with a teacher sans being chastized later for “ brown-nosing.” But mostly, the next four years will provide me with new points of reference, new truths.

Overall, I look forward to growing more comfortable with more types of people. I will know

more about others, and they will lend me insight into myself. I know that college will help me to become a better writer. Finally, I want to know more about the world, to build up an enormous supply of observed details. And when I return to Belmont, I want to feel the difference. 2)

When confronted with an ethical dilemma, I imagine myself a fly on the wall, omnisciently watching someone struggle with his problem. What would I want him to do?

My first taste of college standardized testing began a year ago with the PSATs. I remember that I felt really good after the first verbal section. I had seen both trepidation and recalcitrance in an English class earlier that week. The math seemed to come automatically and, before I knew it, I was staring at the final problem with a cushy five minutes remaining. Okay,

simultaneous equations, cakewalk. I began plugging away, furiously scribbling in the margins. Hold on, damnit, that’ s not it. Staring at the problem, I realized something had to be missing. “ Please put down your pencils and stop work on this section.” Glumly I filed out of the

linoleum-floored test hall for the break. Just as I crossed the threshold of the bathroom, it hit me. It was just the equation of a circle! All I needed to do was find the radius! Crud. Discouraged, I fell back into my seat for the next verbal section. Humming through the

analogies, I couldn’ t bury the image of that math problem. Each time I put my pencil to the little bubbles, my eyes found the empty c) oval in the math section above. But I know how to do that problem!

Why didn’ t I just fill it in? I stayed my hand because I knew that, whenever I told someone my score, whenever the subject of National Merit arose, I would be reminded. I left it blank because I know that there is another student somewhere in America, with the same opportunity, who will also leave it blank. And I admire him.


I wish I could, for a time, transplant myself into French culture. French would tumble from my tongue and pen as freely as English. I could retread the Rue de Rivoli in my mind’ s eye as easily as I can Shady Brook Lane. Ophelie Winter would replace Whitney Houston as Francois Truffault does Alfred Hitchcock.

Having sipped from this foreign culture, I have become addicted. The two summers I’ ve spent in Paris have shown me the potential for self-discovery. I sucked the marrow out of every moment in France, exhuming facets of my own personality I never imagined could be there. Immersion into a new culture helps one fully understand oneself, whether living off nature in a log cabin or standing outside an picerie pondering how one might ask for 2% milk.

I want to know more people, different people. I want to prove to myself that I can relate to others, from Marseillaise aristocrats to fun-loving Texans. The people in France are different.

They play different roles. Only by mastering their culture and their language will I understand the diversity of human experience. Why are they different? Why is anyone different? An

extended stay, an extensive study of another culture would answer these questions. And the more I learn about others, the more I seem to discover about myself.


Extending my hand to tip the brown, dimpled ball into the hoop, I collided with a teammate and fell with a crisp “ thud” to the parquet. I felt a searing pain through my shoulder and a crackling each time I inhaled. That hot, summer afternoon before my sophomore year, my lung

collapsed. The doctor said it probably wouldn’ t happen again. That October, up 5-love in the first set, it happened again, and again I went to the hospital. Two days and two nights with an elastic band holding an oxygen mask to my head. . .

A week later, the doctor performed surgery on my right lung, “ stapling” the “ blebs” that had been leaking air into my thoracic cavity. For a week I lay in my hospital bed, eating nothing but Boston’ s Best Popcorn and Percocet. When I finally returned to school with lingering traces of morphine in my system, I carried my book bag on my left shoulder, awkwardly angling my weight. I felt awful. I remember walking into an algebra test, wholly unprepared, flunking it, and burying my head into my pillow as “ Here Comes the Sun” filtered through the radio. Teachers unsympathetically piled my desk high with work. I spent two months digging myself out of a hole that wasn’ t mine.

Six weeks after the surgery, I began hitting backhands, grabbing rebounds. Somehow, I

regained the academic ground I had lost. One afternoon, walking gingerly on the icy path to my house, I realized that it was over. Almost two months as an invalid and it was over. I wasn’ t happy and I wasn’ t sad because it really didn’ t matter anymore. My life, pushed around a bit, had resumed its course.

In June of the next year, I had surgery on my left lung. A CT scan had shown more blebs. In this second episode, I proved to myself what I had already known: all wounds heal, all pain is forgotten, life finds a way to keep going. I didn’ t have to be tough to make it through unscathed (if not unscarred). All I needed was Emerson’ s good old self-reliance. Having discovered it once, I know I can go to it when I need it again. Brown Applicant

Essay: 36 For Educational Purposes Only

Do Not Plagiar

My friends (most of whom toiled away at summer jobs this summer) are sick of hearing about my trip to Paris. And, rumor has it that I am not allowed to write about Paris in my college applications. Apparently, it sounds too privileged and anything I could say would be cliché. Spending five weeks gallivanting around the most beautiful city in the world with my friends, living with a family and taking interesting classes is privileged. I can’ t help that fact and it would be ludicrous to spend my summer working at Brueggers given the two options. The

cliché part could be true, although I think there are subtleties in my foreign experience that can be applied to good old Boston.

I learned that I like to think in Paris. I think a lot in my daily routine at Milton. There are math problems to do, or perhaps a friend’ s dilemma to figure out. But the Paris kind of thinking is different, namely, because this contemplation was done on my own terms. The homework got done because my mind found the topic worthy. I discovered I love art, in the context of life, not a paper that was due. Granted some of this inspiration was due to extraordinary surroundings, but I think it was more than that. The experience provided the time, the people and the forum to contemplate life. At Milton, time is always the issue. Perhaps pressure too. A Frenchman told me that the American system is like a serpent. It swallows you, you travel through its body, until it passes you out at the end. This analogy seems to ring true in the pressures of senior fall. Unfortunately, learning on your own terms and being successful do not always coincide. The best way to get the best grades is to work like a machine. There is always the tradeoff. My only advice is to fully understand the trade off. Sneak in as much personal thinking time as possible.

Of course with all the artwork and new people swirling about you, it is almost impossible not to do any internal thinking. The swirl of incredibly confusing thoughts in my mind bled onto paper in the form of a French Journal. I am a huge fan of keeping any kind of journal, because everything you write, good or bad reflects you in some way and is therefore good. “ Beauty Truth, truth beauty, ” as some poet said. I prefer to do mine in the third person, because it is more removed and therefore one does not feel as much pressure to report purely fact. It is more creative, less of an accurate journal. However, one’ s English voice can become stale and suffocating because it is used so often. But to write a journal in a foreign language is even more fulfilling because it is a new voice. They say that one becomes a new person in each different language. All of this journal writing served to add dimension to my self-image. Thinking with other people is also incredibly liberating. In Paris we termed this thinking as “ bleeding.” With all of the role playing nonsense that pervades teenage behavior, there is

incredible freedom in discussing the chaos of adolescence. Paris provides the perfect, intense forum to spark these discussions.

The whole thinking thing does get tiresome and suffocating. The beauty of Paris is that you can think and forget whenever you want. You can listen to music in Parc Monceau or you can contemplate art at one of the museums. And contrary to popular belief Paris is not about the alcohol. Life in Paris is too exciting to need to really escapethe kind of escape that is alcohol induced. When you can do anything you want, having a picnic with friends by the Seine seems more noble than throwing up in a bar.

So how as all this thinking changed me? First of all, I now depend on learning on my own terms for intellectual fulfillment. When I arrived home, I went on various intellectual errands to fill the void. For instance, I went to the museum of Fine Arts and read La Nausée by Jean Paul Sartre. My little brother asked, “ Where has the real Maisy gone?” More importantly though, all the thinking has made me change my self-image. Before Paris, I had a subconscious view of myself roughly based on the way that others characterize me. My self-image looked something like this: good athlete, diligent, hides behind sarcasm. Although this self-image was fuzzy and subconscious it was still limiting. Take sports writing for instance. I play three varsity sports and am therefore qualified to do sports writing. I am over qualified and therefor Sports writing

is not a risk. Opinion writing on the other hand, was a risk that my self-image limited me from taking. According to my self-image, I had no particular qualifications for opinion writing and therefore was not comfortable enough to do it. Now, after all the thinking and freedom of Paris, I know that I have too much dimension to have a self-image of myself. What is the point? Ouvrir les yeux (open your eyes) and think a lot, you never know what you might find. UPenn Applicant 2

Essay: 18 For Educational Purposes Only

Do Not Plagiarize. Click Here to Learn Why.

High school is a strange time. After three years of trying to develop identity and friends in

middle school, students are expected to mature immediately on the first day of ninth grade, but I never did this. I never fully realized in the earlier grades how important high school success, as measured by GPA, would be to my future life, and as a result I am applying to college with seemingly contradictory measures of my ability to perform college-level work. If I had worked and studied hard rather than hanging out with friends and viewing high school as an

opportunity to socialize, I would not have to apply to school with a 1300 SAT and a 2.7 GPA. Had I taken my grades in my earlier years seriously, I could have been a college's dream candidate.

This year I have made an earnest effort to improve my work ethic. My grade point average is rising and my study habits are improving. However, after performing poorly for three years, my GPA cannot reflect the transformation I underwent at the start of this year. Dedicated to

making something of myself, I finally matured and am now trying to lessen the consequences of my past actions. Armed with my new attitude and my understanding of the extreme

importance of earning good grades to signal my capacity to work responsibly, I assure you that I will never revert to the student I once was.

In retrospect, I believe that it was my inability to choose my classes that resulted in my lack of enthusiasm on the ride to school each morning. I enjoy the freedom to pursue my own interests and anxiously anticipate the ability to choose my own class schedule in college. While I understand that college will be significantly more challenging than high school, I have always found it easier to study for a class that interests me. I am also willing to accept the fact that as long as I am in school, I will be forced to take required courses that I might be less than enthusiastic about. However, with my new goal-oriented nature, I will realize that I am working towards my college degree and my future success, and I will regain the drive to excel.

Moreover, I now realize the emptiness in the lives of people who can only do one thing well. There is tremendous benefit in being well-rounded, and I now understand that even my least favorite subject will contribute to my ultimate goal of living a rewarding life while working at a fulfilling career.

I will definitely enjoy the independence of campus life. The camaraderie should only add to the college experience. The courses will be challenging, but I am willing to do what it takes to achieve my ultimate goal. I assure you that I have the potential. I am changed man, hoping that my youthful immaturity will not have a lasting effect on my future success.

Harvard Extension School


Essay: 6 For Educational Purposes Only Do Not Plagiarize. Click Here to Learn Why.

In 1996,I enrolled in St. John's College. The perfect freshman, I was earnest, intent, hardworking, and optimistic, but I felt as if my work related trivially to my future goals and would not contribute to my future success. However, I did not have a grasp on what my future plans would be. Sure I had hints and intimations of what kind of work I would enjoy and what kind of life I wanted to lead as an adult; however, I did not have a well thought-out plan for my future career. I knew that I wanted to become a writer, but I also knew that, in order to eat, I would have to do something else along the way. Unfortunately, I had no idea of what that something else would be.

St. John's is a liberal arts school devoted much more to theory than to practical reality; it prides itself on this point and on learning the works of history's dead authors. While I did consider my courses there challenging and rewarding, I realized that I would not be able to apply anything I was learning to life after college. Maybe one could argue that I was learning to think and could apply that everywhere, but this is a weak and unclear line of reasoning. The bottom line was that I was being trained not to be a working professional but to be a masterful thinker.

By the first semester of my sophomore year, I grew bored with this formal training and did not want to talk about books anymore. I did not leave because I couldn't handle the work, but because I simply became frustrated with day in and day out rehashing themes and arguments of dead authors. I never intended to join academia and spend a life analyzing others work; I wanted to write fiction. Since my goal defied St. John's standards of teaching impracticality, I decided to leave. It would have been much easier to stay, but people do not become great by making easy decisions. What I wanted, more than a structured academic life, were new experiences, but I also wanted real experiences, experiences books cannot convey. I wanted to go out into the real world and test myself, to explore as much as I possibly could; I did not see how pursuing a classical education would further this goal. In leaving college, I figured that whatever happened to me would be useful and would teach me things I had never known and might constitute the foundations for a future book.

However, in moving from this to that, I found I had little time to write, and I worried that I had made the wrong decision. I experienced bouts of self-doubt ranging in intensity from mild pessimism to utter panic. Yes, I want to be a writer, but I don't want to be a failure. Trying to strike a happy balance until I can determine my future path, I enrolled in three courses at the Harvard Extension School. As I began to see my writing become more accomplished and as I planned a course of study that would enable me to eventually settle on a viable occupation, I became convinced that I could adapt to the real world without abandoning my dream. I want to broaden my knowledge of the world and to give my dream more definition. At the Extension School, I can improve my writing and, at the same time, learn utilizable skills.

University of California For Educational Purposes Only


Essay: 2 Do Not Plagiarize. Click Here to Learn Why.

One of the greatest challenge I've had to overcome was moving from Iran to the United States. Iran was in deep political turmoil, as it is today. After long thought and discussion, my parents decided that we should move to America, where my sister and I would have better

opportunities for success in life. My dad had moved to America to establish residency for us, and now we were to move there too.

It was late May when we went to Turkey to apply for a Visa. We took a 20-hour bus trip from Urmia, Iran to Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul was considerably different from Urmia, the city that I had been raised in. To begin with, it was an enormous city compared to the small town that had always been my home. My mom had an enormous load on her shoulders in taking care of me and my four-year-old sister. It was very awkward for all of us to be in a new country, and we felt alone and vulnerable.

When we arrived in Turkey, we didn't know anyone and had to stay in a hotel. Early the next morning we got up and headed to the embassy to apply for a US Visa. Everyone there told us that we were definitely going to be rejected. To our amazement, however, we were approved. With our last few dollars we booked a flight, and the next morning we were headed to America. We got on a plane and were on our way to America. We arrived in Los Angeles at 6:00 P.M. Then my dad arrived. He took us to his house and we slept, all of us exhausted from the long trip. My parents now had to decide what to do so that we could live in America and be financially stable. We decided to move to Illinois so that my mom could get her PhD.

This is where I endured my biggest challenge, one that overshadowed all the other things I'd struggled through. We moved to Champaign, Illinois. My parents registered me for first grade, even though I hadn't even completed kindergarten. Only later did I learn that this decision was to my benefit.

I spoke no English and I had no friends in America. It was very hard for me to cope with this, but I managed to do so. My first day in first grade was probably the hardest day of my entire elementary school career. It was agonizing to sit among a roomful of strangers speaking a strange language for six hours. As the days went on, I sought to listen to the students and try to learn something. I realized that I wasn't going to go back to Iran, so I had no choice but to face my challenge and resolve it. And sure enough, I did overcome this obstacle: I soon learned English and found some friends.

This was an incredibly difficult challenge for me to be faced with as a 7 year old boy. It took perseverance, patience, and discipline for me to accomplish my goal. I will use this as an example in my future years in college. Going to college is like moving to a new place; like my move from Iran, I will again find myself in an unfamiliar environment with new people. With the experience I've gained from the challenges I have faced, though, I have no doubt that I'll be able to overcome this one, too.

Stanford Applicant

Essay: 1 For Educational Purposes Only

Do Not Plagiar

I lived on a farm in southern Indiana for seven years. This static way of life changed drastically and abruptly two years ago when my family moved to the suburbs of Indianapolis, thirteenth largest city in the country. During the summer months of 1983,I spent my time adjusting to city life. Moving from the farmhouse into an apartment was just one adjustment I had to make. Another was the proximity of stores, restaurants, and cinemas. "Down on the farm, " the

closest moviehouse was 20 miles away. I also rode the bus downtown and did volunteer work at the Benjamin Harrison home for several weeks. However, the environmental difference between country and city was not the the hardest thing to adjust to. That honor belonged to the enormous suburban school I reluctantly attended in the fall.

North Central, my new school and the largest in the state, was quite a change from

Brownstown Central High School. The class of `86 at NC was larger than my old school in Brownstown. In fact, North Central's population was greater than that of Brownstown. The size of the school still awes me. I know that I haven't even seen everyone in my class in two years of hall roaming.

Another factor I had to adjust to was the number of brilliant students at NC. At Brownstown, I was considered the smartest person in the school--my nickname was Encyclopedia Ashton! To the students of North Central, however, I was merely another smart kid. This had the effect of broadening my views; although only five percent of the school was as intelligent as I, that five percent represented 150 fellow NC students--a humbling thought.

The quality and quantity of classes marked a major difference between NC and Brownstown. At Brownstown, three or four classes would be fairly easy; at NC only one or two of my classes would be cakewalks. The vast array of classes was a bewildering change from Brownstown, too. At Brownstown, for example, the only science classes offered were biology, chemistry, and physics. During my sophomore year at NC I took zoology!

All these changes I underwent illustrate this major turning point of my life. From third to ninth grade I was a farm boy. I was also the rather naive "Encyclopedia Ashton" who held his peers in awe. The summer before my sophomore year my life reached a turning point of sorts, in that my world changed. It changed from rural to urban, from small to big. It was not a complete turning point--I am a rather unique blend of two opposing lifestyles, and my thoughts, ideas, and actions reflect this blend.

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