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'BETWEEN YOU AND I: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY' - for honors application

fsugirl89 1 / 2  
Feb 26, 2007   #1
I am applying to the honors program at FSU and one of the criterions for entry is an essay... the topic:
Please submit one page from the autobiography that you might write in 25 years, Specifically, submit page 147.

I am just pulling a blank... a little advice on how to begin and tackle this?

EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Feb 27, 2007   #2

What an interesting topic! Even more so, the fact that they want page 147! This is something you could have fun with. Let's begin by looking at it logically, before addressing the creative aspects.

Page 147 would probably be near the end of the book (depending on how much you crammed into your life!) so you could either think in terms of it as a summary of the book, or simply choose an event from the later years of your life. In 25 years, you'll be, what, 42 or 43? That is old enough to have achieved some success in your chosen profession. I don't know what your major is, so I can't give an example specific to you, but if, for instance, you were planning on being a lawyer, you could write about being the youngest Chief Justice ever to sit on the Supreme Court!

Or, you could be a little less predictable and more creative; you could invent an unusual circumstance that happened to you on one particular day. If you enjoy creative writing, you could demonstrate your writing skills by making it more about the significance of one little detail -- a problem you must solve at work that creates an ethical crisis, for example. The point of this approach would be to demonstrate not only your writing skills but your problem-solving abilities and moral integrity as well.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP fsugirl89 1 / 2  
Feb 27, 2007   #3
thanks a lot! I do think I am going to take a creative approach... i don't yet know exactly how I'm going to begin it; however, I wanted to start in medias res... I'm not sure if that would be confusing or not though. What I was thinking was that logically, if this was my autobiography, page 147 would be pretty random, perhaps even a continuation from the previous page. Since this would be an autobiography, I also figured that my life story would be well over 200 pages so page would essentially be in the middle of my life... so it should be a narration of a part of my life from a 42 year-old perspective.. I guess.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Feb 28, 2007   #4

I think you're probably right -- it is pretty random, and that may be what they were aiming for -- to have you jump into the middle of things and see how creative you could be with that. Give it some thought and really go let your imagination run!

OP fsugirl89 1 / 2  
Apr 23, 2007   #5
Okay, here's my essay.

I mean, have you ever met a sixty-year-old man with a blood-red mohawk? I was intimidated, petrified, shocked, yet slightly amused. This man was to be my new boss. His name was Oliver Albee and he single-handedly built the magazine empire known as Narcissus: You'll Fall in Love with Yourself.

I remember his first words to me: " Lena, darling, I am simply thrilled by your resume. You are a smashing photographer and a brilliant writer... brilliant, brilliant! I have no doubt you would bring so much to my magazine. However, there is one small thing... here at Narcissus we have one rule, you must be willing to fall in love with yourself. And, sweetheart, I do not mean vanity, I mean self-confidence. You must radiate it! I want self-confidence to ooze out your ears! Are you ready to fall in love with yourself Lena?"

The next day, I showed up to Narcissus as the new "My Most Embarrassing Moments..." columnist. I didn't exactly have the most interesting job on the magazine team, but nevertheless, I was overjoyed just to write about a woman's awkward realization that the back of her one-of-a-kind black satin Versace dress was tucked into her bright pink panties that read "Ooh la la!" Today, I still work for Narcissus; however, rather than telling troublesome tales, I am the vice-president of the corporation and the co-editor-in-chief (with Oliver Albee himself) of the magazine. I worked my way up, working various jobs, until finally it all paid off.

Thinking back to Oliver's first words to me, I realized that I always have been in love with myself... or rather, with my life. I have never been happier! And I could not ask for more: I have a wonderful job, a beautiful home, and a loving family. In fact, as I write, I look around my New York apartment at my husband, Michael and my two children, Isabella and Nicholas who are all watching VeggieTales together on the couch singing "Oh where, oh where, oh where is my hairbrush?!" with Larry the cucumber. Truthfully, I do not even know where my own hairbrush is amidst all the boxes and packing materials. A few months ago, Michael and I decided that we needed to find a bigger place to raise the kids and now, here we are, getting ready to move out. We have had so many memories here in the past ten years, which makes me sad to leave yet ready to move on. Almost like being optimistic and nostalgic at the same time.

I remember feeling this exact way 21 years ago after leaving Florida for my graduate studies at Northwestern University. I had lived in Venice and Tallahassee, Florida for most of my life and the thought of moving into the "unknown" scared me senseless. Leaving the friends and environment at Florida State University, to which I had been so attached, seemed illogical; however, the thought of finally going off into the "real world" was a dream that I could not pass up. I am sure you have heard the saying that college consists of the best years in one's life. I must disagree with this statement. In my life, no year has been better than the next because I have enjoyed every minute, hour, and day. Each year is special because it consists of individual days that each bring along new knowledge. Just the other day, my six-year-old daughter Isabella informed me that the Queen of England has a rubber duck in her bathtub that dons an inflatable crown. Hey, we learn something new everyday, right?

However, it seems as though no one is willing to learn anymore. We think that once schooling is over, we must cease to learn. Herein lies society's ultimate problem, for how can anyone advance without a mind open to learning? I hope I never lose my curiosity for knowledge. I know my mother never has and I respect her for that. After my graduation from Florida State University, my mother decided to further her own education at the Juilliard School of Music. Now, at the age of 67, my mother composes music used in many major films and is a professor at none other than Juilliard. She followed her dreams and just look at what she has achieved! Her life gives me hope and courage. Thus far, I have always followed my dreams. I have become what I always dreamt of becoming - a writer. It makes me smile to know that dreams can come true.

One of my favorite songs, now an oldie from the year 2006, has always been The Riddle by Five for Fighting. I find that it embodies many of the secrets that life holds. The song states: " There are secrets that we still have left to find. There have been mysteries from the beginning of time. There are answers we're not wise enough to see. I'm big but we're smaller than small. In the scheme of things, well we're nothing at all." Sometimes, we, in general, are selfish and believe the world revolves around us. Yes, we can make a difference but we are not omniscient and we cannot live only for ourselves. The song continues: "Here's a riddle for you. Find the answer. There's a reason for the world. You and I..." You and I. That's everyone! That's the world! We are alive for the good of the world and what we do does affect those around us whether good or bad. Throughout my life, I have met many people who have impacted my life and I hope that I too have impacted theirs.

My life is not based on fame, money, or any other superficial quality. I am simply myself. And I think that is the greatest thing a person can be. Looking at pictures from throughout my life, I see huge changes over the years. My hair changed, I have grown, and now I've even acquired some age lines; however, I am still the same person that I was when I was ten years old. That silly and unpredictable girl is still evident in the woman I am today. I still love music, I still like to dance, and most of all, I still live to laugh.

If I have done nothing else in my life, I am satisfied to know that I have influenced those around me through love. Some want to be remembered for their great achievements, some for their beauty, and some for their money. I don't want any of that. If you are to remember me, I don't want you to think of my success for Narcissus or my fame from writing, I want you to remember me from the way my life has influenced yours. Have I made you think, have I made you laugh, have I made you cry, have I made you angry, or have I made you fall in love with

EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Apr 23, 2007   #6

I like the way you start off--the image of the 60-year-old man with a blood-red mohawk sticks in the mind! :-) You involve the reader from the first with this picture and with the character's dialogue. The problem I have with it, though, is that you leave this interesting tableau without really letting it run free. I felt let down when, instead of launching into an amusing anecdote about something outrageous that happened at work, which is what I was expecting, you suddenly summed it up and moved on to family life. From that point on, I felt my interest in reading it flagging. Your essay then changed course a couple more times, before getting to what appears to be just about the last line of the book. I don't think an autobiography's last page (or penultimate page, either) would start with a story like that; such an experience would have been told earlier in the book.

You have written some good stuff here; it just seems to me that it's about three different essays in one. If the prompt wanted you to sum up your life, that would be another matter, but if you are going to really keep it to just "page 147" I think you should make it more "in medias res" as you said, and just continue on with the job at Narcissus and some amusing thing that happened there.

Reasonable minds may differ, but that's my take on it! :-))


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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