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UF admissions essay, my notion of 'the good life'


Ksinger 1 / 5  
Oct 20, 2014   #1
Four years ago, I received the news from my parents that we would be packing our things and moving from our small hometown, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania to the sandy white beaches of Clearwater, Florida. That does not sound too bad for most, but as a fourteen-year-old girl entering high school, I was not thrilled about moving to a new city and starting over. I spent 11 years at the same Catholic school, growing up with the same group of kids. I was moving to a new, beautiful city, but I was apprehensive about change, and feared feeling lonely. I would have to make new friends and leave old ones behind.

My community in Pennsylvania was small, close knit, and largely homogeneous; diversity of races, religions and cultures was in short supply. I grew up sheltered and largely ignorant of the cultural differences that exist within more diverse communities. Nevertheless, I never had reason to doubt that I was living 'the good life.'

My family and I traveled abroad to Europe and observed people living in diverse environments, their lives governed by sets of ideals and beliefs that were foreign to me and were often different from one another's. Despite these observations, we were merely visitors looking into the lives of others. And while these trips left an impression on me, back at home things were the same as always- safe, predictable and removed from the differences I knew to exist in the world. To an extent, my travels seemed to reaffirm my great fortune and confirm the idea that I was living 'the good life.'

It wasn't until I moved to Florida and began attending Clearwater Central Catholic that I really began to appreciate how diversity had the power to enrich my life on a personal level. Instead of being an observer, I was now a part of something composite and complex; I was a tile in a mosaic, and I quickly realized that together the picture we formed was one of a truly "good life." Although most students at my high school were all from different backgrounds I still had many things in common and that they could open my eyes to things about which I had never considered. With the diversity of the student's backgrounds being new to me, I was able to learn things about their cultures and about what it is like to be around a diverse group of individuals on a daily basis. As much as I was able to learn about other students and their unique backgrounds I was more importantly able to make new friendships with the other students. They learned just as much about themselves as I did through this experience. Together, we stopped looking at our differences, and saw that really we were all the same; kids looking to make new friendships and learn as much as we could in preparation for high school and the realities that experience would bring. I have come to appreciate the fact that everyone comes from somewhere different and that some of the people I have met at Clearwater Central Catholic have become some of the most important and influential people in my life.

I had the privilege this summer to travel to Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands. My friend Jacqueline and her family, who are originally from Puerto Rico, invited me. This opportunity allowed me to have more respect for Jacqueline and her family- and in the process of learning about her culture; I also gained a greater appreciation for my own. I have taken Spanish in school since I was very little, and over the years, we have learned about the rich culture, history, and traditions of Spanish speaking people. In some ways, Spanish culture has always been a part of my life. To actually travel to Puerto Rico and experience the richness of the culture firsthand was both eye opening and rewarding. It is these kinds of experiences and friendships that I realize will help shape me into the well-rounded person I want to become. The road to living 'the good life' isn't necessarily an easy or a comfortable one, but being pushed outside of my comfort zone opened my eyes to the rewards that are possible as a result.

'The good life' to me is my friends. Moving to a new state filled with all new unique people, I learned how to be a part of a diverse community rather than just an observer of one. Guided by this experience, I hope to contribute my own experiences to the diverse community at the University of Florida. Just as I have grown as an individual and learned from my experiences with others, I hope they too will learn something from my experiences and me. This is what I consider to truly be living 'the good life.'
OP Ksinger 1 / 5  
Oct 20, 2014   #2
PROMPT
We often hear the phrase "the good life." In fact, the University of Florida's common course required of all undergraduate students is titled "What is the Good Life?". The concept of "the good life" can be interpreted in many different ways depending upon the experiences, values and aspirations of each individual.

In a concise narrative, describe your notion of "the good life." How will your undergraduate experience at the University of Florida prepare you to live "the good life"?
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 20, 2014   #3
Kylie, while the essay you presented reflects your idea and understanding of the good life, I feel that you need to further develop a certain portion of the essay in order to drive home that point. I am referring to the following passage:

It wasn't until I moved to Florida and began attending Clearwater Central Catholic that I really began to appreciate how diversity had the power to enrich my life on a personal level. Instead of being an observer, I was now a part of something composite and complex; I was a tile in a mosaic, and I quickly realized that together the picture we formed was one of a truly "good life.

It would most certainly help your essay if you could explain to the admissions officer how your attendance at this school summed up the good life for you. If it was a mosaic tile of life that you experienced there, how did it translate into a better understanding of life for you? Were there instances when you were exposed to the other side of life, the underprivileged side, that helped you come to this new understanding? If so, please tell us more about that. This is a central and integral part of your essay that must not be overlooked. I would go so far as to say that this particular paragraph would most likely be the most interesting part of your essay and render the rest of your travel stories irrelevant. Of course I would have to see the revision in order to make that a final conclusion.

I hope you will consider my suggestions and allow us to read a 2nd version of your essay for review soon :-)
OP Ksinger 1 / 5  
Oct 20, 2014   #4
How is this?

It wasn't until I moved to Florida and began attending Clearwater Central Catholic that I really began to appreciate how diversity had the power to enrich my life on a personal level. Instead of being an observer, I was now a part of something composite and complex; I was a tile in a mosaic, and I quickly realized that together the picture we formed was one of a truly "good life. Although most students at my high school were all from different backgrounds I still had many things in common and that they could open my eyes to things about which I had never considered. With the diversity of the student's backgrounds being new to me, I was able to learn things about their cultures and about what it is like to be around a diverse group of individuals on a daily basis. As much as I was able to learn about other students and their unique backgrounds I was more importantly able to make new friendships with the other students. They learned just as much about themselves as I did through this experience.Together, we stopped looking at our differences, and saw that really we were all the same; kids looking to make new friendships and learn as much as we could in preparation for high school and the realities that experience would bring. I have come to appreciate the fact that everyone comes from somewhere different and that some of the people I have met at Clearwater Central Catholic have become some of the most important and influential people in my life.
fp2014 1 / 7  
Oct 20, 2014   #5
I think is a pretty good essay, but you should write more about the outcome you expect to gain from your undergraduate education at this university to be able to live "the good life"


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