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'aeronautical engineer' - Common app. main essay: character in fiction!

hern255 13 / 48  
Dec 24, 2009   #1
Please help me with this! The deadline is soon!!
Thank you very much!

Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.


Why are we here? Are we accomplishing our mission in this world?
Sometimes we approach any of these questions in an unproductive way; unable to answer it immediately, we throw it away in a second.
That happened to me until I met him. His name was Santiago.
I was given the book "The alchemist" as a birthday present, so I decided to read it. Actually I was not expecting much, but through my reading I was slowly captivated.

The novel tells the tale of Santiago. His parents had wanted him to become a priest. One afternoon, on a visit to his family, he had summoned up the courage to tell his father that he didn't want to become a priest. That he wanted to travel, it was his dream in life. "The people who come here have a lot of money to spend, so they can afford to travel", his father said, "among us, the only ones who travel are the shepherds."

"Well, then I will be a shepherd!"
That was the first approach that caused my admiration for him. Besides our common appeal to travel, there was something that caught more my attention: our difference in that he had the braveness to express what he really wished in life.

I had been very reserved in that aspect; until that day nobody had had even a clue about my secret fascination to airplanes. Maybe it was the fear to confess a goal that seemed hardly to conquer in this country due to the fact that there was not a university offering that major, aeronautical engineering, and to the widely spread fame of the difficulty of engineering by itself; of course I wasn't able to face the people's awareness of my defeat...

Captivated, I continued reading.
Dusk was falling as Santiago arrived with his herd at an abandoned and ruined church in the Andalusian fields, he decided to spend the night there; that night he had a dream, he dreamt about a treasure in the Pyramids in Egypt. What I admired the most of him was to have the courage to follow his dream.

In his journey, he sees the greatness of the world, and meets all kinds of exciting people like a king, a crystal merchant, an alchemist (from whom Santiago gets much of his knowledge) and her, Fatima, the love of his life.

At one point in the story, he hesitates to follow the dream because he didn't want to leave her, but in that moment was she who gave him the courage to continue. "You have make me gradually became part of you, that's why I want you to continue toward your goal. If I am really a part of your dream, you'll come back one day", she said.

By the end of the novel, he did find a treasure, however he discovered that "the real treasure lies where your heart belongs", and that the treasure was the journey itself, the discoveries he made, and the wisdom he acquired.

Through Santiago, I understood that in the deep of the heart people know their dream; however they are so accustomed to their lives, to the same people and things each day, that sometimes they don't see worthy to follow an ideal. But also I understood that it's the possibility of having a dream come true what makes life interesting.

There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, you must pursue it, that's your mission on earth. What will make this world better is the people's happiness, to follow their dream until the end is the people's real obligation.

That may sound like an oversimplified thinking, but as Coelho states "simple things are the most valuable and only wise people appreciate them".

That day, when I finished reading the book, I got up. "Mom, I will be an aeronautical engineer". "In our country it is not possible, furthermore we don't have enough money. If you wish to study that, you would have to put aside the family, look for financial support and travel to other country", my mom said.

"Well, then I will leave".
poisonivy 14 / 102  
Dec 27, 2009   #2
hi! well, im starting to get frightened, this is the second essay i am reading about "the alchemist" (and believe me, i havent read many essays) and mine is about the alchemist too... i hope that this book isn't so widespread in essays that it looks, otherwise... where are you going to apply?

Anyways, about your essay... Try to review the first paragraphs, they are so short (sometimes just one sentence), so combine them.
Also, trim the fat. For eg. "I was given the book "The alchemist" as a birthday present." isn't something that adds much to your essay.

I like the way you compare Santiago's desire to travel with your desire to study airplanes. DO modify your conclusion. Remove the direct speech and make a strong ending.

Hope I helped. :)
OP hern255 13 / 48  
Dec 27, 2009   #3
Oh really?? :S
Yeah that's a fair reason to get frightened!
Well, I am applying to Stanford and Caltech! What about you?

And thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it :)
I will try to work on this and I'll post it later.

Thank you so much!
poisonivy 14 / 102  
Dec 27, 2009   #4
Im applying to Yale, Brown, Columbia, Duke and few others, so we have none in common :)
You're welcome and good luck in your application :)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 27, 2009   #5
I am sure in some point of our lives we all have wondered that, sometimes in an unproductive way. Perhaps we were not able to answer that and we just threw it away the next second. am sure in some point of our lives we all have wondered that, s Sometimes we approach that question in an unproductive way; unable to answer it immediately, we just throw it away in a second.

I revised for brevity. I think this says the same stuff in fewer words, enabling the ideas to hammer away at the reader's attention.

After seeing it for several weeks on the table by my bed, I decided to read it.---> this sentence is not really helpful, is it? I don't think it is necessary as part of the main heme of the essay, so the only thing it really accomplishes is to convey to the reader that you are not the kind of person that would read an important book right away, but perhaps instead are doing other things, not so interested in reading.

So, that is why you have to be purposeful in everything you do; anything that is not methodical is going to produce random results, maybe unfavorable ones...
OP hern255 13 / 48  
Dec 28, 2009   #6
Thank you very much, Kevin. You were a lot of help!

What do you think about the essay as a whole?
And about the conclusion? I personally like the ending, but do you think it is weak?

Anybody else's comment would be much appreciated too!

Have a nice day! :)
OP hern255 13 / 48  
Dec 30, 2009   #7
Can someone give me a feedback about the content of htis essay? Please!!
It will be really appreciated!

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