This is the essay I have written for the choice prompt of the Coalition. I feel like I have good ideas, but the essay is lacking, especially towards the end. Any suggestions, especially specific ones, would be appreciated.
Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.
I love you. Thank you for being my rock all these years. Try not to grieve when I'm gone- find comfort in the fact that I am free."
I skimmed over the first line of the letter I had just received from my best friend, Brooks. His handwriting was messy, but his message to me quickly became clear. Realization and panic washed over me as tears seared the corners of my eyes. My heart began to beat out of my chest as I scrambled for my phone and began to dial his number. One time. Two times. Six times. Every call went unanswered. When I finally got a hold of his brother thirty minutes later, he was gone. The day of Brooks' suicide was the worst that I've ever lived through - yet it has taught me more about myself than I could have ever learned on my own.
During the first few weeks after Brooks died, my world crumbled around me. My grades suffered dramatically during the hardest year of high school and I became severely disconnected from those I was closest to. However, as weeks passed, it became easier to reread his note and begin to try and understand the burdens that he carried before his death. The ways in which he described his struggles coming to terms with his identity as a young queer person have had the biggest impact on the way that I perceive others and the struggles they may face behind closed doors. I spent dozens of hours reading research journals documenting suicide and depression and visited the psychiatric wing of my local hospital as often as I could to speak with the patients there. As I uncovered just a few of the complicated intricacies of the human mind, the effects of my destructive emotional state weakened and my passion for psychiatry and mental health grew into what could only be described as an obsession.
Brooks' suicide not only taught me the importance of ending the stigma surrounding mental health in America but also helped me realize my love of psychology. Studying the human brain is a passion that I cannot wait to turn into a career and I know that in the future, I will be able to change thousands of lives through my research and be able to prevent thousands of deaths through my compassion and connections with others.
Matt, there are several confusing references in the third paragraph. Let me outline it for you below followed by the question that I believes needs to be clarified in the presentation.
1. My grades suffered dramatically during the hardest year of high school
- What happened? How did his death affect you academically? Clarify why your academic suffered because of his death. Be convincing because "My friend died so I was depressed and could not perform in school" is not an acceptable academic excuse. Unless you suffered mentally as well because of the death, that reference weakens your essay presentation.
2. ... begin to try and understand the burdens that he carried before his death
-This affected you because? Why should the reviewer care? You are talking too much about Brooks at this point and not enough about yourself. You are the applicant, not your deceased friend. Don't make him the focal point of the story.
3. I spent dozens of hours reading research journals documenting suicide and depression and visited the psychiatric wing of my local hospital ...
- Because? Again, why does this matter? Why did you feel a need to do these things? How does it relate to you handling the death of a friend ?
If you clarify these 3 points, I believe that your essay will be stronger and better presented for consideration. Your essay is basically good, but can be made better. I hope that you can work the points I am suggesting into your next version. Based upon your word requirement, you may need to revise the whole paragraph or a series of paragraphs for continuity and clarity purposes.